This leadership programme and initiative is at the forefront of creating a much needed awareness, empowering and educating young women and children alike. This is of vital importance if we are to embrace the challenges we are faced with environmentally as South African’s and as citizens’ of earth.
The 2012 regional finalists have been selected and these gorgeous women come from all corners of South Africa. After an extensive interviewing process nationwide linked to workshops and hands on projects, regional finalists were chosen from hundreds of hopefuls. These women are tasked with environmental projects and campaigns that they have the opportunity to roll out, the judges then decide on the final few who have the opportunity to make it through as the national finalists.
Their projects and focus areas include an exciting greening project for National Environment Week as well as glass awareness campaigns in schools across the country. As part of the Miss Earth campaign, teaching, educating and interaction, is of vital importance. This year regional finalists reached just under 10 000 children in grade 4 across the country in a, ‘My bean in a glass’ activity. This project was designed to get these young minds excited at the possibility of easily planting their own veggies and monitoring the growth process.
With issues of climate change and food security in Africa, adaptation is important, thus teaching children the importance of growing something as simple as beans, this starts the correct mind set and attitude. Over and above growing their own beans, they have learnt the value of reusing glass jars, recycling and respecting our environment, no matter where we live.
Regional finalists have already out down themselves this year, having collected in excess of 25 000 Easter eggs and care packs over the Easter period, finalists distributed these to hospitals, children’s homes and old age homes from as far as Langa in the Western Cape through to Jeffery’s Bay, Bloemfontein and Alexandria township in Gauteng.
Miss Earth South Africa as an organisation also managed to put together in excess of 10 000 Stationery packs since the beginning of the year for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This highlights the ability of the South African public and their amazing ability to support and care for those around them. The Miss Earth South Africa in association with Consol has been running this stationery drive for the past five years. Growing in leaps and bounds each year, the organisation managed to exceed their goal of 10 000 stationery packs with phenomenal support and active involvement from the South African public.
This initiative has built itself from the roots up. National director, Catherine Constantinides has dedicated herself to this initiative for the past 10 years, ensuring that this campaign is different and unique in its approach and roll out. “Each young woman must leave with more than she arrived, knowledge that she can impart and share with those around her and the ability to empower others through her growth. The participants are encouraged to look at lifestyle behavioural changes within their daily lives which create a direct and immediate impact on the environment. These are individuals with the ability to go out and empower people around them in order to bring about sustainable and tangible green changes in their way of life,” says Constantinides.
Constantinides’ is assured that this year the judges' decision is going to be more difficult than ever. Each regional finalist is judged in accordance to her performance and the projects and community involvement over a period of three months. These initiatives form an integral part of the final judging stages. Thereafter national finalists are chosen and these gorgeous women are in for an experience of a lifetime, with an extensive schedule of activities up until September, finalists most certainly get their hands dirty with on the ground experience in greening initiatives in both urban and rural areas, environmental and conservation workshops, water and energy activities, recycling programmes, awareness campaigns and school visits.
The Miss Earth South Africa in association with Consol have adopted several schools throughout the country, where they have pledged to green and educate these schools and create an awareness amongst the learners on how to be responsible for the environment around them both at school, home and within their communities. These are long term relationships with sustainability as the key foundation.
Constantinides says “there is so much work that needs to be done and our children are being educated in appalling conditions, with dust and sand playgrounds to play in, no tree’s to sit under and in certain instances are using containers as class rooms. Through an initiative such as Miss Earth South Africa, we are able to make a difference in the environment in which children are being educated, through bettering the classroom environment, greening their sports fields and beautifying the surroundings of the schools with tree’s as this will only benefit the outcome of their lives.
We have worked with so many schools over the past decade and we can see sustainable and exciting differences that these initiatives encourage. Food gardening has also become a very exciting element of our work.”
The extensive range of work, initiatives and educational programmes talk for themselves. The organisation has powerful partnerships and relationships with likeminded active corporate partners such as their headline partner Consol, as well as Tsogo Sun, Imperial Toyota, TOTAL South Africa, SAPPI, Newsclip Media Monitoring, AVIS and Desco.
Why beautiful women you may ask? This platform creates ambassadors and spokeswomen that people aspire to, people admire and children look up to. The programme has grown over the years from one success to the next, making a huge difference to people, the communities and the environment. What better role model than a beautiful and intelligent, young South African woman, who has a green message that you want to take up and make your own. Children are in awe of these young ladies, and are like sponges in their presence, absorbing every word they say.
The 2012 regional finalists are an exciting group of diverse women, from students, to environmental science graduates, an electrical engineer, medical doctor, chartered accountant and teachers. Regional finalists have participated in alien vegetation clean up’s, water testing’s, educational programmes in schools across the country, community driven projects, the annual stationery drive and that just for starters. The 2012 winners will be announced at a gala dinner hosted by Tsogo Sun in Johannesburg at Montecasino on 25 August. This programme is endorsed by several green agency’s such as SANParks, National Energy Efficiency Agency, CEF, WWF, SANCCOB, Cape Nature and supported by City of Cape Town to name a few.
Image caption: Miss Earth semi-regional finalists, Amanda Ndiki and Nikki Lindeque with learners of Abram Hlope.
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