Globally, 32 million girls of primary school age are not attending school; one in three females experience physical and sexual abuse in their lifetime; and one in 10 girls in Africa will miss school during their period and eventually drop out of school as a result.

The Dignity Campaign, launched in 2012 by Aukje Brouwer, has been training women from all over South Africa and Africa to become dignity facilitators, helping girls and women find their identity, belonging, and purpose in God. They are informed about their bodies, puberty, their menstrual cycle, and menstrual management and are offered reusable sanitary products.

One of the women who attended a Dignity Campaign training to get practical tools on how to support young girls in her community, was Crystal Kannemeyer.

Seeing through God’s eyes

“During the session on God’s heart for women, I started seeing myself through God’s eyes. Knowing that I was created in the image of God wasn’t new to me, but suddenly it became clear that God had not only redeemed and restored me, but had also released me into becoming an agent of change.

“The mandate that God gave man and woman to rule together and take dominion over creation hadn’t changed, and more than ever before I heard the call to rise up out of my own brokenness into continuing Jesus’ dignifying work,” she explains.

“On a daily basis, I see the impact a low self-esteem has on choices that girls and women make and the compromising situations they find themselves in due to a lack of understanding of their value and worth. It’s disheartening to see girls’ dreams scattered and women not reaching their full potential and seeing them end up in a vicious circle of vulnerability,” she says.

Restored in order to help restore

“The training was an eye opener. The opportunity to process my own dignity story before learning how to come alongside others was a healing process. Getting an opportunity to share in a safe space redeemed my story and transformed it into a powerful tool that now helps others become strong pillars of support in their communities,” she says.

With the knowledge, tools, and support given by the campaign, Crystal now takes part in facilitating training to other women and organising dignity events for girls in her community.

The Dignity Campaign is a partner of the Mergon Foundation. For more, go to www.dignity.org.za.

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