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UNICEF to Bring 11,000 Lower-Income South Africa High School Girls in Tech Industries

Women are woefully underrepresented in technology, science, engineering and mathematics jobs in South Africa

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Women are woefully underrepresented in technology, science, engineering and mathematics jobs in South Africa. But for the last decade, a homegrown, UNICEF-supported program has worked to bring 11,000 lower-income high school girls into these industries. VOA

Women are woefully underrepresented in technology, science, engineering and mathematics jobs in South Africa. But for the last decade, a homegrown, UNICEF-supported program has worked to bring 11,000 lower-income high school girls into these industries.

Among those students was Raquel Sorota. Sorota has come a long way from her humble upbringing in Johannesburg’s Tembisa township. She now works as a risk engineer at a top South African insurance company.

She was those one of those South African high school girls who went through the UNICEF-supported TechnoGirls program, which started in 2005. She was selected for the program in 2009. Now 24, she says it changed her life.

“My life has literally never been the same again,” she said. “So, before the program, I wanted to be a doctor and today I’m an engineer, through that program. So I think a lot of what I think I took from that program was how it exposed me to the world of engineering. I think for the longest time I never knew how broad that world was and that I could have a place in that world, most importantly.”

Bright, disadvantaged girls

The program selects bright high school girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, gives them exposure to professions in science, technology, engineering and math, pairs them with mentors, and follows them through their university studies.

The program’s founder, Staff Sithole, says this is about much more than creating a new crop of workers. This, she says, is about changing the world — and who runs it.

“It is more an instrument, or a program, which is contributing towards gender equality. So rather than just running advocacy programs, let’s come with something that can change the circumstances, can be a purposeful targeted intervention of contributing towards gender equality,” she said.

Challenging obstacles

For high school students Gugulethu Zungu and Queen Makaile, the obstacles are more than just lack of opportunity. Both are physically challenged; they were both born with different, rare genetic defects that have affected their appearance and their health. Both were chosen to participate in the program this year for their high grades in math and science.

Zungu says the program led her to identify her dream career — forensics — but also to expand her horizons.

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“I like investigating and solving mysteries. And it actually makes me believe that, indeed, nothing is impossible. You just have to think out of the box,” she said.

Makaile, who has struggled with hearing and vision problems as a result of her rare defect that has also given her asymmetrical facial features, says she now wants to be come a journalist, to show the world that her thoughts matter more than her looks. For these girls, nothing, they say, will stand in their way. (VOA)

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Being a Part of UNICEF as Goodwill Ambassador is a Lifetime Privilege, Says Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Priyanka even took to Instagram to share what the award means to her

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Priyanka
On the film front, Priyanka was recently seen in the Hindi film "The Sky is Pink". She is currently shooting for Netflix's "The White Tiger" along with RajKummar Rao. IANS

Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas was honoured with the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic work as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights.

She was felicitated with the award at the 15th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball on Wednesday here.

Priyanka even took to Instagram to share what the award means to her.

“I am in awe of the tireless efforts and unwavering commitment of the people who work for #UNICEF. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this journey. To serve as your Goodwill Ambassador is the privilege of my life.

“Special thank you to Geetanjali Master, UNICEF India, Marissa Buckanoff, my UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Chief, Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, Caryl Stern, UNICEF USA President and CEI, and Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director | #UNICEFSnowflake Thank you to my team for your constant support,” she wrote.

Priyanka
Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas was honoured with the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic work as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights. Wikimedia Commons

Congratulating his wife, Nick Jonas said that he is proud of her.

“I am proud of who you are and the good you’ve brought into the world as a goodwill ambassador with @unicef @unicefindia for over 15 years now. You inspire me every single day by just being you. Congratulations my love,” Nick wrote.

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On the film front, Priyanka was recently seen in the Hindi film “The Sky is Pink”. She is currently shooting for Netflix’s “The White Tiger” along with RajKummar Rao. (IANS)