THE AURORA PROJECT

Aim and Mission Statement


The Aurora Project started in 1996 to support South African adolescent girls and school teachers from Soweto, with the objective of motivating them to enhance their self-esteem, and enabling them to lead fulfilled lives as persons in their own right, as well as in their roles as wives and mothers.


The Aurora Project, which has been successfully running for 16 years, is a collaborative project of the South African Association of Women Graduates, Soroptimists International of Johannesburg and Kingsmead College, Melrose, Johannesburg.

Report for the year 2010


Seminars in 2010
Three very successful seminars were held:

  • Term 1 - "Life After Matric"   -  Grade 12  -  65 girls 
  • Term 2 - "Balancing My Life"   -  Grade 11  -  69 girls 
  • Term 4 - "Leadership and Management Through Technology" - Grade 10  -  102 girls.

Many girls attend all seminars over their last three years of schooling.

Attendance
There is usually a total of 100 girls from five schools in Soweto at each seminar however the numbers do fluctuate according to schools’ participation.

Certificates of Attendance
Attractive certificates are produced for each seminar. Each attendee is presented with her certificate, on which her name is inscribed, at her own school assembly during the following week. The certificates appear to be prized by the girls.

Assessment Questionnaires
Simple assessment questionnaires have been drawn up and the girls are asked to complete them before receiving their certificates. 

  • Seminar Evaluation Opinion Surveys
  • Self-Evaluation Opinion Survey

Information from the Opinion Surveys does assist the committee with the planning of future seminars.

Future of the Project
However successful the project is, and we are achieving at least some part of our aim, we do realise that we are touching only a very small number of the girls who need to be motivated to realise their full potential.  We need to decide how the programme could be expanded.

Grade 8 Project
As a result of the growing concern of the participating schools of the increasing number of pregnancies in the schools the teachers have asked that the Aurora Project be extended as an intervention programme for the Grade Eight pupils in the schools. Working with the teachers a programme has been drawn up and permission has been granted by the Principals to run the programme.  The plan is to work with the boys and girls from the five schools

Unfortunately the present Committee does not have the capacity to undertake such a project. A facilitator is, however, being sought.

Money has been set aside from a Soroptimists’ fundraiser for the project, mainly donated by a firm through a Kingsmead Old Girl.

Finances
The financial position is sound but further resources are always sought.

At the request of the Heads of the schools there is a charge of R25.00 for each participant with the proviso that any girl who cannot afford is not excluded. (The charge is to be increased to R30.00 in 2012.)

Thanks
A get-together was held in Soweto, at the Wimpy in Moponyo Mall, in order to thank the staff members of the Schools involved in the project, who assist in so many ways.Gillian Wilkinson and Margaret Edwards also held a brief discussion with the attendees to ascertain the commitment of the schools to the Project.  They were unanimous in their support for the project continuing.

The assistance of Kingsmead girls at each of the seminars over the years has been greatly appreciated and the visitors so enjoy the interaction they have with the Kingsmead girls.  The ongoing support of the Heads of Kingsmead, Miss Gillian Wilkinson, the organising staff, printing staff and the catering staff has been quite magnificent.

Without the ongoing financial support from the Soroptimists to pay for buses and to the members of SAAWG who assist in the presentation of modules in the seminars it would not be able continue with the project.  We are most grateful to them.


Aurora Co-ordinating Committee
January 2011