MARGARET EDWARDS, PRESIDENT OF SAAWG's JOHANNESBURG BRANCH, RECEIVES THE CHITRA GHOSH AWARD

Prof. Chitra Ghosh is a distinguished academic and a past president of Graduate Women International. Every trienniuem, a Chitra Ghosh  award is presented to a member who has contributed to the development/betterment of the association to which she belongs and preference is given to a candidate who has designed and has executed or is involved in an ongoing project of her NFA that promotes empowerment of members of her NFA or of a group of women or girls in her society.

 

This year, Margaret Edwards was presented with this award for the development, with Jocelyn Bell, organisation and management of the Aurora Project which aims to and has done for the past 22 years, increase the self esteem of young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in Johannesburg.  Management has been handed over to a new generation, but Margaret continues to be actively involved.

 

Margaret Edwards receives Chitra Ghosh Award

Full day seminars are run for the girls three to four times per year, where they learn life skills such as interview techniques, how to write a CV, safety in the home, money management, exam techniques, the danger of HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy etc.

 

Each seminar contains six sessions on different topics; the girls are divided into smaller groups so that each girl attends each session, in a small group where questions and answers can be handled.

 

Refreshments are provided during the day, and there is time for networking amongst the girls. Each seminar ends with an inspirational talk to encourage the girls that they too can become movers and shakers in their communities and the wider world.

 

The number of participants is limited, to ensure that each session is not over-crowded. 

Margaret Edwards (left) receives the Chitra Ghosh Awards from GWI President, Catherine Bell

Thousands of girls' have participated and benefitted from the programme; many returning multiple times as they find the interaction and information stimulating. Over the years others have copied the programme, as it is entirely replicable.

The girls' teachers too have benefitted, and often remark on the difference it has made to them and their approach to teaching and the girls. The Headmistress of one of the schools from which the girls attend recently spoke publicly and said that a direct result of the Aurora Project was that her Matriculation (end of school) pass rate had gone from 20% to 100% and the hope and inspiration it provided both the girls and the teachers.