In South Africa, the high prevalence of violence and gender inequality are profoundly impacting the quality of life for girls and women, pushing them to the margins of society and denying the chance to reach their full potential. Atlas is proud to partner with the Gauteng Women’s Rugby Institute (GWRI) to use rugby as a tool for female empowerment. Since its establishment, the GWRI has worked with over 45,000 children across 137 secondary schools and 85 primary schools to educate and mentor, providing life skills and resources that help them lead confident and rewarding lives. The GWRI also supports disadvantaged communities to speak out in support of each other about gender inequality within their townships.  

For young female rugby players who need it most, the GWRI provide safe accommodation and food, via their high performance programme. Women here are given the chance to study and train in an environment close to a professional club, developing opportunities for talented players to reach their potential and prepares them for a career after their sport. With the support of Atlas, it is a profound step in offering equal opportunities for young girls and women within their communities to find their voice and become empowered. 


Over 45,000 children and young people have been reached by the GWRI since its establishment and the number of schools has grown to 222. The impact has been twofold; at community levels, the GWRI fed over 4,500 with regular food packages during covid-19 and has maintained regular contact with over 39,000 children, demonstrating profound commitment to those it cares for.   

The second area of change has been the establishment of a high-performance institute which has empowered young women from poor and marginalised backgrounds to pursue a career both in and beyond sport that was previously not available. A number of the women have since joined the Springboks national team.