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Trudy Dladla: Inspired by TechnoGirl Programme

17 May 2019 - With a welcoming hug and a ready smile, Trudy Dladla is both confident and engaging. Sitting on the grounds of the University of Johannesburg where she is in her second year of studies in Homeopathy, Trudy recounts her positive experience with the TechnoGirl programme. While a learner at Ikhethelo Secondary School in the town of Bethal, Trudy was selected by her teachers to be part of a group of learners for the TechnoGirl programme.

After the initial training workshop, Trudy undertook a job shadowing exercise at Transnet Freight Rail in her home province of Mpumalanga, one of the more rural parts of the country. The programme strives as far as possible not to uproot girls from their communities so there is a focus on recruiting local host companies.

This is not only to save costs but to develop local skills and talent as well as preventing the problem of rural-urban migration. UNICEF’s financial contribution through the TechnoGirl Trust has made these partnerships possible. Confessing that she initially found the experience slightly “intimidating” Trudy quickly began to appreciate the guidance and advice that she was given by her mentors.

Following this experience, Trudy decided to follow a career in the health sciences, with funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and is looking forward to graduating as a Homeopath and then studying further towards a medical degree. She enjoys campus life and attributes the TechnoGirl Programme for fostering an appreciation of her studies and the opportunities that lie ahead.

What she finds particularly rewarding is the links that the TechnoGirl Trust has fostered for the alumni of the programme. Through these links, she is in regular contacts with other TechnoGirl Alumni who are studying at the University of Johannesburg. The TechnoGirl Alumni is one of the pillars of the programme that UNICEF together with the implementing partner conceptualised to ensure that once the girls exit the programme at school level, they still have a structure that continues to link them with the programme and enable them to receive additional support while studying at institutions of higher education. The structure also provides an opportunity for the alumni to mentor other young girls who are new in the programme.

With her father working as a rigger and her mother unemployed, Trudy is aware of the sacrifices made by her family, and the guidance of the TechnoGirl programme, to get her to University. In acknowledging the support of all those who have supported her on this journey, including UNICEF, Trudy notes that “the exposure through TechnoGirl Programme showed me that women can also do work that is thought to be only done by males and be very good at it. I would not exchange the experience I got from the TechnoGirl Programme for anything.”





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