A noble initiative Eswatini Prom Closet has been officially launched.
The initiative was launched at Mdzimba View, where the brains behind the concept said the campaign would focus on assisting girls and boys.
The concept seeks to bridge the social gap between students who can afford and those who cannot afford dresses and suits for prom nights.
“It takes one act to heal a nation. This phrase holds true to Siphesihle Nkwanyana, founder of the initiative.’
Nkwanyana said the initiative would be an annual event where dresses and suits would be donated all year round until prom time.
“The Eswatini Prom Closet is a national campaign encouraging women and men to donate dresses and suits that they would never wear again, to high school leavers who need them for prom. The aim is to help underprivileged girls and boys who cannot afford prom dress and suits because of their background. The project also encourages the donation of shoes, jewellery, bags, make-up and other suitable accessories,” she said.
She also requested other girls who have gone past the prom experience to donate to the less privileged.
“One very important aspect of the Prom Closet initiative is that disadvantaged girls are not only given a Cinderella moment, but fortunate girls who have gone past their prom are also inspired to give back. The project will also give an opportunity to rural schools who have never dreamt of a prom event to start having one,” she added.
Nkwanyana shared that the criteria to be used for the selection of deserving girls and boys would be strictly by nomination.
She said the project would rely heavily on schools to nominate eligible students who truly need the assistance.
“The project will run for six months every year from April till September when students get ready for prom. This is where the mass dress distribution will take place. For the duration of the six months, there will be dream-building workshops held with the identified recipients in the four regions of the country to give them ideas on post-high school plans,” she explained.
Moreover, Nkwanyana said the initiative would have focal persons who would be in touch with schools and the public in their respective regions.
“Their duty will be to identify a central drop off point and further coordinate the dress collection, fittings and alterations for students in their regions,” she said.
The founder of the initiative shared that the concept would also have empowerment programmes.
“The project understands that girls in financial need often times lack stability or inspiration for post-high school plans. For this reason, the #PromCloset campaign seeks to partner with youth organisations to host dream-building workshops where they create vision boards on their future plans after high school. Other experts in different fields will be roped in to take the young men and women through tips and tricks on tertiary institutions and career opportunities,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of school principals was Clement Simelane from Ntjanini Central High, who expressed excitement and gratitude.
“This initiative will give pupils hope that life does have something good for them. They will also have a great moment to wrap up their high school life. Some of us were not fortunate enough to have such a privilege. We really appreciate what Nkwanyana is doing for our pupils,” he said.
Carole Lubelo from Eswatini Fashion House also pledged their support, saying they would be donating and altering some of the dresses.
Zee Beauty and Make-up Palace also offered to train one of the students and provide a make-up kit worth E4 000.
Eswatini National Youth Council (ENYC) Chief Executive Officer Makhosami Dlamini said they were in full support of the concept as it could help eradicate some of the social economic issues.
“Siphesihle is a brave person, we are proud of her. As a council we are committed to helping her. We will be asking some of the young people who got training to also assist, especially with the make-up. We can only plead with the nation to support this noble act,” he said.
Dlamini also appeaded to media houses and the public at large to protect the initiative from social media.
“It is our duty to protect this noble initiative, we can’t allow social media to tarnish it by posting harmful content,” he added.
The launch also saw the thrilling performance of Charms the poet and attending the event were Miss Cultural Heritage Ngcebo Dlamini, Mrs Africa Eswatini Zama Potgieter, Jumbo Khumalo, Linda Dlamini from Kufeziwe Communication, among others.