Zola's story:

Zola Nondwayi is an exceptional young girl living in the Masiphumelele township, where she has excelled even in the face of many difficulties. The area has serious problems with crime and alcohol, stripping many children of hope for the future, and leaving them to become drawn into gangs and crime. As well as this, there is a lack of female hygiene products, rendering many girls to stay home and limiting their education. Zola’s is unfortunately one of many girls in the Masi town who's possibilities for the future are being limited by crime and inequality. 

However, despite these challenges, Zola has not given up on her future, and has become an inspiration to other girls. Thanks to the programme Atlas has funded, Zola now has access to female hygiene products, so has been able to spend more time in school. The programme uses rugby to offer children an escape from a life of crime and alcohol, as well as giving them a mentor to guide them to a positive future. Zola loves the programme, and wears her donated British and Irish lions kit with pride. As one of the first girls to train rugby with the boys, Zola encouraged other girls to follow, and helped them to become empowered. 

Zola has now become captain of the rugby team, where she is a fantastic example to other girls. The programme funded by Atlas has helped Zola overcome difficulties and has allowed her to improve her rugby. Zola’s determination to play, even when there were no other girls with her, earnt her selection for the Western Province under-15s Girls team and she now has clear potential to be a future Springbok. Off the pitch, Zola continues to be a motivational role model as a class rep in school, where she represents the values of rugby and is supporting the next generation of children to find better futures for themselves.

Zola would not have been able to become the exceptional role model she is today or have the incredible opportunities for her future, without the support of Atlas. The Atlas foundation is proud to support Zola in the next steps of her life and looks forward to what she will achieve.