BRAVE is a South African nonprofit that creates opportunities for girls, and works with those who can provide the resources, knowledge, experience, and safety that girls need to lead. BRAVE is girl-led, and use the challenge of travel and adventure to empower girls from underserved communities to tell their own stories, acquire critical skills, and build networks to assist with education, health care, economic empowerment and safety. BRAVE uses an innovative, unconventional approach, training girls from urban and rural areas to become advocates for themselves, then taking them on road trips across their own countries, and beyond, to advocate for others.
BRAVE was founded by a group of ten year old girls from Manenberg, South Africa, in 2011 who wanted to make their gang-ridden community safer – and who called themselves Rock Girls after the anti-apartheid slogan,“When you strike a woman, you strike a rock”.
South Africa has one of the highest incidences of rape and sexual violence on the continent. Two out of every five rape victims is a girl under the age of 17. Many girls and women – and boys – are not safe walking to and from school or work. BRAVE was inspired by a group of Grade 5 girls (and boys) from Manenberg who decided to make their own school a safer, more beautiful place by creating a safe space – a bench – for girls. Together with their teachers, parents and caregivers, and BRAVE, they built a new school and inspired a city wide campaign, with over 58 Safe Space public benches installed around the city of Cape Town. In 2015, the girls went on the road, traveling thousands of kilometres to meet other girls, share their stories, and advocate for change.
Today, over 500 young women have participated in our school and holiday programmes, and many more have connected with us through our Road Trips, weekly newspaper columns and radio programming, and social media. We invite you to be BRAVE and help create the next generation of girl leaders.
Safe Spaces: BRAVE has changed the lives of over 500 girls. We create opportunities for girls to improve critical thinking skills, build camaraderie, and gain the confidence to become resilient, engaged, informed leaders.
Transformative Travel: Through BRAVE’s initiatives, women and girls gain the self-confidence and skills needed to become agents of social change in their own lives. BRAVE travels thousands of kilometres across South Africa and beyond on annual road trips to share girls’ stories and amplify girls’ voices.
Impact: BRAVE is dedicated to regular monitoring and evaluation of our programs and includes girls and their families in this process. We evaluate the impact we have on individual girls’ lives, including their confidence, academic performance, self-esteem, and relationships with others, as well as the number of girls who we work with who continue their education beyond secondary school.
Advocacy: BRAVE also evaluates our impact on the polices and legislation that exist to protect and promote girl leaders. BRAVE meets with leaders from government and business to ensure that they create and uphold policies and laws that help girls lead. Since 2011, BRAVE has published over 100 articles in print and online publications to advocate for improved health care, education, safety, and economic opportunities for girls. Our Safe Spaces campaign has installed 58 public Safe Space benches in partnership with 30 artists and designers. BRAVE also encourages boys and men to support our efforts to create a safer South Africa. We work on the front lines in the struggle to reduce violence against women and girls, and everyone.