Three young women, three stories and one goal: to change the world

© UNICEF / Schermbrucker

By 2050, one-third of all children in the world will come from Africa. Learn the stories of three young women from South Sudan, Lesotho and South Africa who did their best to make their dreams come true on the occasion of Africa Day, which is celebrated all over the world on May 25. Zikra Gibriel, Malitsietsi Malepa and Sebabatso Ncephe change the world for the better!

Despite the overall improvement in living conditions, access to education, and the reduction of extreme poverty over the past 20 years, many countries on the African continent still face many challenges. The stories of three girls from different African countries show how, through perseverance and hard work, you can realize your potential and give a chance for a better future.

Zikra Gibriel – a young correspondent

Zikra Gibriel is 17 years old and from South Sudan

© UNICEF / Ryeng

Zikra Gibriel is 17 years old and from South Sudan. She is a blogger and writes mostly about the lives of girls in her country. I am writing on behalf of all of us – the girls of South Sudan. Early marriages, limited access to education, and little chance of realizing your potential are our reality. says Zikra. According to Zikra, governments and communities need to work together to ensure that girls have access to information on health care, education and proper hygiene. Young women also need to learn life skills.

We girls need to protect and invest in our potential. Were we created to cook, clean, wash, and fulfill human desires? But who will listen to our problems and solve them? Zikra asks. Some of us are illiterate, but we have a lot of talent, abilities and skills. Unfortunately, they cannot use them because they have little knowledge and no one tells us what to do.

Zika is involved in the UNICEF U-Report program. U-Report is a platform that allows you to strengthen the voice of young people and participate in decision-making that is important to them. We need support to be able to realize our dreams and desires; we must also be free from the burdens we cannot bear. That is my goal, adds Zikra Cibriel.

Malitsietsi Malepa changes health care

Malitsietsi Malepa changes health care

© UNICEF / Samie-Jacobs

Malitsietsi Malepa, 24, lives in Berea, Lesotho. He is one of the participants in the UNICEF-led Youth for Leadership initiative with the Lesotho government. The goal of the program is to enable young people and health workers to monitor youth-friendly health services. It is common for health professionals to provide health services to young people, but they rarely get feedback on how young people use health services.

Malitsietsi visits her peers and talks to them about medical services and their experiences. He then goes to see the nurses and informs them about the reactions of the young people. We have a lot of things that worry young people. Therefore, we should not allow others to make decisions on our behalf without considering our voice. Many adults do not know our needs, so we need to say out loud what we need and what we want to change. Malitsietsi says. My goal is to protect the health of young people, so that my peers know their rights in contact with medical institutions. This is very important, adds.

Sebabatso Ncephe is a blessing to the Ivory Park community

The girls take matters into their own hands!

© UNICEF / Schermbrucker

Sebabatso Nsefe is only 19 years old, but with hard work and determination he has already achieved a lot. I want to change the world, especially the poor and the defenseless, says Sebabatso, whose name translates as “blessing.”

Sebabatso believes in the protection of girls’ rights in particular. Sebabatso is a participant in the UNICEF-supported Techno Girl program. Techno Girl supports girls’ education in technical fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Participation in the program prepares him for future work, but also encourages him to believe in his dreams. The girl has already become an example and initiator of positive changes in her society.

This is a place of unfulfilled dreams. You are born here, you live here, you drop out of school, you get a boy, and then you get pregnant. Many girls do not finish school Sebabatso talks about the Ivory Park where he lives with his family. Ivory Park is a densely populated city located 35 kilometers northeast of Johannesburg, South Africa. The city is affected by unemployment and crime. This is Sebabatson’s home, whose mission is to change communities by setting a positive example. She hopes that she will encourage young people to fight and make their dreams come true.

I believe that being born poor is not an option, but dying in poverty is a choice. Sebabatso emphasizes. Most of the girls in my community do not study, but then have difficulty finding work without any specialization or contact.

One of Sebabatson’s many ideas is to develop a program that teaches people their rights. This applies not only to his community, but to the whole of Africa. I thought it would be helpful if the hospital could communicate with patients, for example, by sending alerts to elderly people who forgot to take their medication or to HIV-positive people who struggled with stigma in hospitals while taking antiretroviral drugs. says the girl.

Sebabatso believes that learning science affects how he sees and understands the world. I was given the opportunity to participate in the show “Techno Girl” and learned a lot from her. If more girls had this opportunity, their dreams would come true soon. I want to be the voice of young people and tell them: your dreams are important and your story should be told, Sebabatso adds.

The stories of Zikra, Malitsietsi and Sebabatson are hopeful and worth watching. The girls took matters into their own hands and tried to change the world for themselves and their communities. Undoubtedly, many young people around the world should follow their example, not only on Africa Day.


About Africa Day

Africa Day is an annual professional holiday May 25, 1963 Organization of African Unity. The organization has been operating for about 40 years. In 2002, the African Union was established to replace OAU. Today, it is one of the most important and numerous regional international organizations uniting almost all African countries.

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