"I grew up in a very disadvantaged background," says high-school student Lerato Mhlongo "It never made me feel like I was destined for anything. I thought, 'This is not my fault. I need to make something better of myself, and that will be done through education.'
Lerato is among the many girls in South Africa who are less likely than boys to graduate high-school, and more likely to face violence at home and school, be infected with HIV, and receive lower pay when they start working.
Despite these challenges, Lerato is pursuing a career in information technology. Through the Techno Girl program she is being trained by and shadowing leaders in the Information Sciences field. Techno Girl is an initiative seeking to promote gender equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by placing high-school girls from underprivileged communities with companies providing mentorship and job-shadowing opportunities. It has been selected among 20 initiatives by Generation Unlimited as a program that delivers sustained results for education, skills building, employment and empowerment for young people.
“Once I started, I am not going to stop despite anything that will come my way,” said Lerato.
Through education, training and perseverance there is no doubt Lerato will have a successful future and career.
Check out her story below.