Viewed by those around her as a millennium-generation leader, Ezlyn Barends believes education is the pillar of society, and the means by which the cycle of poverty can be broken and society transformed.
Her dream has always been to provide programmes that serve as a vehicle to educate and empower the youth, who are Africa’s greatest assets.
This led to the establishment of the Dad Fund, a non-profit organisation that aims to promote the holistic development of South Africa’s future leaders. Through the Dad Fund, Ezlyn created the DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme in South Africa.
Barends describes the DreamGirls Society as a sisterhood of young female professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders who actively mentor and guide teen girls in underprivileged communities to be successful in their pursuit of higher education and in life in general.
The society focuses on encouraging young girls to attend universities and colleges as a means to be able to contribute positively and meaningfully to society.
The vision of DreamGirls is to increase the amount of high school diplomas and tertiary qualifications acquired by under-represented schoolgirls.
As founder of the programme, Barends passionately drives the vision and is constantly exploring creative ways for DreamGirls to progress and expand.
“I want to see an Africa where the youth live inspired, prosperous and purposeful lives. For this reason I work hard to effect positive, beneficial change in the communities in which I work – it brings me joy to help other young people actualise their hopes and dreams,” says Barends.
“I believe that with education, hard work and faith in a purpose and vision bigger than ourselves, anything is possible.” — Linda Doke