CAPRISA hosted 20 enthusiastic Grade 11 and 12 female learners and three teachers from high schools in the Durban, Howick and Vulindlela areas as part of the annual Cell C Take A Girl Child to Work initiative aimed at exposing young girls to the real “world of work”. The initiative aims to ‘give young girls an opportunity to interact with role models; and make informed career decisions based on real work experiences,’ explained Ms Marietjie Geldenhuys, Head of Human Resources at CAPRISA.

Learners were exposed to the diverse and wide range of careers that are available in a scientific organisation. Speakers included Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, CAPRISA’s Associate Scientific Director and Professor Koleka Mlisana, Head of Medical Microbiology, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences in the College of Health Sciences at UKZN. Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim facilitated a round table discussion on How to Overcome Challenges in Career Progression as a Woman.

‘The experience was wonderful, and it taught us that we as young women can be independent and successful,’ wrote the learners from the Ngcedomhlophe High School. ‘It was indeed an honour and an unforgettable moment of experience. We learnt how important thinking is to our lives and how it can help us to go far and improving ourselves to being better persons in the near future.’

CAPRISA will continue the partnership with the identified schools to ‘provide young learners with further opportunities to engage with staff at the Vulindlela Research Clinic,’ said Geldenhuys.

Words: Smita Maharaj