Woman on mission to empower girls

30 Nov 2023

As an environmental officer by day and an author by night, Ike Ratlhogo of Semotswane village  is a woman on a mission. 

She is dedicated to making a difference in the world. 

But it is her work with young girls in Botswana that has really set her apart and she is passionate about protecting and empowering young girls. 

Her latest initiative, #Fearlesslight, is making waves as it has attracted more that 50 young girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years. 

The campaign is designed to give young girls a voice and to help them fight for their rights. 

It is a breath of fresh air in a world where girls are often pressured to conform to society’s standards. 

The campaign launched in November 18 in Francistown, encouraged girls to break free from the mold and be unafraid to be themselves, to embrace their uniqueness and to let their light shine. 

“With a message that is both relatable and empowering, #Fearlesslight is a campaign for any girl seeking to find her own voice and strength,” said  Ratlhogo. 

Also the author of two books titled,  I fear darkness no more and You are beautiful; What every girl needs to know, explained that the #Fearlesslight campaign is a metaphor for being both brave and radiant. 

“The campaign encourages girls to be bold, not afraid to shine their light and make a difference in the world,” she added. 

She hoped that by sharing her message through the campaign, she can inspire a new generation of fearless, radiant young women. 

“It is also a campaign that encourages young girls to be unafraid and unapologetic about who they are, and not to be afraid to be their authentic selves. The campaign is based on the idea that girls should be confident in their own skin and not let fear hold them back from pursuing their dreams,” she said. 

Ratlhogo explained that the goal is to help girls feel empowered and supported in their journey to becoming their best selves. 

She added that the campaign is aimed at reaching out to girls and offer them a source of inspiration and strength. 

Ratlholo also said that it was critical for young girls to develop a strong sense of self-worth and self-confidence. 

The launch started with aerobics by young girls before a video called Leading With Kindness American First Lady,  Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney on Being Brave and Bold, in which Ms Obama and Ms Clooney discussed the importance of standing up for oneself and others, even when it is difficult to do so. 

The video emphasised the value of leading with kindness and compassion, and encouraged viewers to stand up for themselves and for what is right. 

It also highlighted the power of being brave and bold, even when it is uncomfortable or unpopular to do so. 

In her book, titled, You are beautiful: What every girl needs to know, published in 2017,  Ratlhogo said it is aimed at young girls and it sends a clear message that every girl is beautiful, no matter how she looks like. 

“In a world where body image and appearance are often emphasised, this is a refreshing and important message to share,” she added.  She explained that the title of the book, which she wants to be used in schools, also implied that there is more to a person than just their physical appearance, which is a crucial lesson for young girls to learn. 

“The book could be an excellent resource for young girls in schools. Not only does it teach important lessons about self-acceptance and self-love, but it also provides a much-needed boost of confidence and positivity,” said Ratlhogo. 

She said many young girls face pressure to look or act in a certain way, and this book can be a powerful tool for helping them to see that they are perfect just the way they are. 

“It could also open up conversations about body image and self-esteem, which are important topics for young girls to discuss,” said Ratlhogo. 

She explained that her other book, I fear darkness no more, could make a real difference in the lives of young girls. 

In this book published in 2021, Ratlhogo argued that young girls should be fearless regardless of the challenges they face. 

The book is about a young girl named Pula who struggles with fear and anxiety. 

As the story progresses, Pula learns to face her fears and embrace her inner strength. 

Ratlhogo said the book’s message is about courage, resilience, and self-love. 

“It teaches young readers that even in the darkest of times, they can find the light within themselves,” she added. 

In addition to the message of overcoming fear, Ratlhogo also emphasised the importance of self-acceptance and breaking free from society’s expectations. 

Pula is pressured by her peers to fit in and act in a certain way. 

As the story unfolds, Pula realises that it is more important to be true to herself than to conform to others’ expectations. 

“This is a powerful message for young girls who may feel pressured to look or act in a certain way,” she added.

 Given her impressive body of work and her dedication to empowering young people, it is clear that Ratlhogo is a force to be reckoned with. 

She is not only a talented  author, but also a powerful advocate for self-love and confidence. 

Also as a motivational speaker, she inspires others to believe in themselves and to embrace their unique gifts and talents. 

Her ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds is truly remarkable.  Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thamani Shabani

Location : Francistown

Event : Campaign launch

Date : 30 Nov 2023