Tswelopele Girls Club

Geci Karuri-Sebina

Geci Karuri Sebina - a 2009 Tutu Fellow - established a girls' club Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa called Tswelopele with two other concerned local women. The girls club focuses on girls’ self-development project, aiming to increase their life chances under difficult circumstances by emphasizing self-awareness, responsibility and growth.

Geci created the girls' club during her Fellowship in 2010 with Yoliswa Kgasago and Penny Thloe. With her background as an executive for the South African Cities Network and a leading expert in Architecture, Urban Design and Innovation, the club seemed to be a natural extension. 

Offering mutual support, mentorship and soft skills development, as of 2013, there were 10 “Big Sisters”, women leaders who volunteer their time to mentor and support the “Small Sisters”, teenage girls who live in the area. As of 2014, two Tswelopele girls have gone to university, with an expanding number of volunteers mentoring the ever-changing group of younger girls.

The idea is to have younger members graduate and ‘give back’ to new incumbents and to stimulate or contribute to the emergence and growth of additional girls clubs in South Africa.

“Through this programme, I have learnt to question my assumptions and hone (or recognise the limits of) my abilities to positively contribute to and influence the world around me.”