Our Story

Since 2016, Girls Matter has provided the young women of Hanover Park with a sense of belonging and self-worth. Our work is to support the emotional wellbeing of young women and mothers living in Hanover Park so that they’re able to raise secure, healthy children who reach their full potential. By giving them the tools to overcome hopelessness we’re really giving them the strength to rise above their circumstances, to evade gang life and ultimately, to thrive. At GM, we want to show these girls that their lives DO matter.

We’ve all read the usual negative rhetoric about adolescent dropouts, teen moms and the Cape flats. “I think these young women face enough without being told their lives are over and nothing good will ever become of them. They have chosen a difficult path but have the same potential as anyone else”  says Director Roseanne Turner.

Our vision:

  1. Teenage girls are mentally healthy and feel empowered to make informed and healthy life choices
  2. Women and mothers in Hanover Park are mentally healthy and able to raise secure, healthy children who reach their full potential, thus reducing substance use, violence and poverty in the area.

Our goals:

  1. To enable teenage girls to regain their balance enough to return to school, start training or find meaningful employment
  2. To keep them away from substance use and out of gangs, where they are usually exploited and abused

Hanover Park – More than violence, gangsterism, and school dropouts

Hanover Park is a community situated on the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa. Established as a result of the Group Areas Act evictions under the Apartheid regieme, that saw whole communities uprooted and moved to areas on the outskirts of the city, ripping apart social support structures.

Today, Hanover Park is notoriously characterized by excessive levels of addiction and gang violence. Unemployment is high, while income and education levels are low, and opportunities few. 

As a girl growing up here, you are exposed to gangsterism, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, high incidences of school dropouts, violence and abuse. You have limited exposure to life outside of Hanover Park, with most young people who had never left the community.  

But in the midst of all of this is a community that is resilient, connected, and passionate about their Hanover Park, the place they call home. There are girls and young women who, despite these challenges, have the will and determination to change their tomorrow. 

It is for these girls and young women that Girls Matter exists.

The Girls Matter way

Girls Matter provides support, guidance, and training to teenage girls in Hanover Park, who have dropped out of school. We also provide a peer group, affirmation, healthy food and fun relaxation strategies. Our aim is to enable these vulnerable girls to regain their balance enough to return to school, start training or find employment, keeping them out of gangs, where they are usually exploited and abused.

Who we are

Girls Matter is a voluntary association, registered as an NPO with the Department of Social Development. Headed by Roseanne Turner (Director) our board includes epidemiologist and systems thinker Dr. Michele Youngelson and Geraldine Young, an executive at IBM South Africa.

We function as a project within the Small Projects Foundation (SPF) who issues all necessary SARS documentation on our behalf. SPF currently provides Girls Matter with mentorship and organizational support especially with regard to funding and fundraising.  

Founding member Kate Squire-Howe resigned in June 2019 but remains involved by facilitating Laughter Yoga sessions. Our financial accounts are done by Iain Pike (CA SA) on a voluntary basis. 

A special thank you to our many friends and individual donors who give their time and expertise as well as to all the wonderful young women and their families in Hanover Park.

We are grateful to these great organizations for their ongoing support of Girls Matter. Keen to get your hands dirty? Join us as a mentor, coach or role model.

Amakhaya Amabini

Business Education Design (Give Yourself a Job)

Child Welfare Cape Town
The Clothing Bank
Small Projects Foundation