As our Ruth First scholarship has grown, so has the need for a support structure for our girls. While this is addressed in the ambit of the school’s responsibility, the team has recently been boosted by the addition of social worker Robyn Hill who dedicates a day a week to the Ruth First Trust.
A Jeppe Old Girl (2000), Robyn worked her way through Unisa to realise her dream of becoming a Social Worker. She spent two years at the Germiston Child Welfare where she ‘grew up in a hurry’ dealing with foster care, abuse and adoption decisions. From there she moved to Epworth Children’s Village, which as a residential care facility came with its own challenges: family reunification, abandoned children, the stigma and impact of the HIV-AIDS scourge and the transition to available medical treatment, and applying the Social Entrepreneurship Programme skills she acquired at GIBS to transform the Therapy and Assessment Centre into a self-sustaining business unit.
After thirteen years in the welfare environment, Robyn was ready for a change and leaped at the opportunity to return to Jeppe Girls as a social worker and a part of the Ruth First team. Having been a Ruth First mentor since 2013, she was familiar with the scholarship programme, and embraced the opportunity to provide holistic support to the girls to ensure they are able to take advantage of what’s offered to them by Jeppe. She talks with passion of unlocking the girls’ resourcefulness and resilience to enable them to step up to the plate and realise their full potential, in this vibrant opportunity rich environment.
And what a role model she is for our girls! From her life goal, “To live a life that has value beyond myself,” to her appetite for learning across a spectrum which includes Ancient Greek history, geology and genetic studies, to her sporting ability (the first woman to take a wicket in the Bullring at the Wanderers), Robyn with her calm presence and absolute belief in quality education as the key to breaking the generational poverty cycle, is a most welcome addition to our Ruth First team.
Photo: Robyn with our Matric Ruthies on a recent visit to Wits campus