Koinonia Baloyi

NPO 211-584

What does your company do?

Girls With Wiings is an organisation that sows hope and restores the dignity of homeless and underprivileged women. We are achieving this by distributing sanitary products monthly and creating job opportunities for homeless and underprivileged women. The organisation was founded in May 2016 and we are currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2017 GWW launched their "Fitness for a Cause" platform where they are actively using fitness to create awareness for GWW and raise funds for the organisation. To date Koinonia has run the London and Cape Town marathon, GWW has hosted 2 boot camps, 1 sports tournament, a dance event, and is an official charity partner for the Two Oceans marathon from 2021-2024. GWW launched its entrepreneurship project and the Girls With Wiings sanitary pads in November 2021. The Girls With Wiings sanitary pads are creating work opportunities for homeless and underprivileged women through the labeling and packing of sanitary pads. The profit from each pad sold goes towards women in need who are employed by Girls With Wiings. Our long-term vision is to restore the dignity of poor and vulnerable women. This means a society where the rights to basic health, sanitation, and menstrual health management for the poor and vulnerable are prioritized and addressed. Additionally, creating employment opportunities for women to address and eradicate poverty in our society.

What is your biggest success?

In 2022 I launched GWW pads, an entrepreneurship project where we created our range of sanitary pads. Through these pads, GWW is creating job opportunities for homeless women through the labeling and packaging of pads. The profit made from the sale of these pads goes towards the women we employ through this project. Living in a country with a youth unemployment rate of over 60%, I recognize the importance of not just empowering the poor with practical skills, but also creating employment opportunities that allow them to earn an income. My goal is to grow the GWW pads project and to expand on the operations of the project so that the employment opportunity we create can be more sustainable and we can employ more women. We are currently supporting 7 women through this project and in 2024 we promoted 2 of the women to supervisors of the training and packing sessions.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Building and running an NGO comes with several challenges, and one of the main ones is funding. We started in 2016 when there was a massive drive to provide access to sanitary products to help keep girls in school. As a result, it was harder for us to get sponsorship, donors, and partners to support our cause for homeless women. This hurdle inspired us to think out of the box early in our formative stages and be intentional about finding avenues that help us be self-sustaining like our fitness for a cause platform. 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic was also a big hurdle that many businesses and NGOs faced. We distribute sanitary pads to women who are living on the streets and the lockdown restrictions prevented us from traveling and continuing with our operations. But because we knew the impact that this would have on homeless women, we partnered with local government and “essential service organisations” that had permits to move around into the communities where we operate and were able to distribute sanitary pads on our behalf. We also supported local schools, feeding schemes, and other organisations that needed additional sanitary pads as their supply was impacted by the lockdown. The Covid lockdown didn’t shut us down but rather allowed us to find other ways to still grow and make an impact. This experience is constantly teaching me to find ways in which I can grow through my challenges.