SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Dorika Masawi of Chivi is a teen who keeps to herself and only speaks her mind out when spoken to.
When she opens her mouth, great ideas come out proving that behind her blanket of shyness is a great intellect mind waiting to explore many opportunities.
Dorika was born and raised in Chivi, Zivurawa Ward and went to Chikofa Primary School.
She is now in Form 4 at Chikofa Secondary School.
Her father died in 2010 and her mother is a domestic worker at Shabanie Mine.
Dorika has always dreamt of being more than a nurse or teacher, the only jobs she has been exposed to since birth.
She wants to work on an airplane.
She does not really know the exact job title but she gets excited when she sees airplanes passing her rural homestead every day.
She has always been fascinated by airplanes and having to work in one will fulfil her dreams.
She is the eldest of three children; has a sister in Form One and a brother still in primary school and believes she should lead by example.
The young girl has already started leading by example as she is a prefect and is active in theatre and poetry at school.
Dorika is one of the hundreds of girls who will be working side by side with the great people in politics, industry, aviation and other sectors under the Take a Girl to Work initiative.
Dorika was chosen after writing an essay spelling out her wish to work on an airplane and her dream is just a few months away.
Take a Girl to Work Day is a corporate social investment event, to be held in Zimbabwe for the first time on August 2, 2012.
The day will expose girls, especially the underprivileged in Form 4, 5 or 6 to the world of work, positive role models, and an opportunity to make informed career decisions.
"It's a day when thousands of young Zimbabwean female students will get the opportunity to spend a day 'at work' by visiting corporate offices, Government departments, factories, hospitals, hotels, institutions of higher learning, radio stations, construction sites, and many other businesses across the nation," said Drake and Garcia projects and marketing executive Mr Tafara Mbaya.
He said the idea behind all this is to expose, connect, inspire and motivate girls to strive for excellence in academic fields and to deepen their thinking about the roles they are expected to play in the country's socio-economic development.
Mr Mbaya said the visits to the "world of work" mark a turning point in the lives of many girls as they will experience first-hand, the modern-day career options available to them.
"Armed with a world of career options to consider, girls will have the opportunity to make informed career choices that will shape their future and change their world for the better.
"The campaign will thus play an important role in providing factual understanding of what specific careers and professions entail," he revealed.
Mr Mbaya added that their aim is to bring students into direct contact with various careers. "All over Zimbabwe, business will open its doors to students from a number of schools who will experience first-hand the hard realities of the workplace.
"They will enter into dialogue with employees, many of whom will remain in contact and in effect become mentors.
"They are, thus, far more equipped to make informed choices about their future and are consequently better prepared to face the ups and downs of studying, training and entering employment," he pointed out.
He added: "For adults who are also role models and caring citizens, it is our duty to educate the girl child and also actively guide them to make empowering choices that will change their lives and lead them to a prosperous future.
"We hope to see the whole of Zimbabwe rallying behind the initiative with even the President taking a girl to Cabinet for the day."
He pointed out that there has also been an under-representation within the corporate world.
The goal of the Take a Girl Child to Work Day initiative, he said, is to "deepen the thinking of the girl child with regard to their infinite roles in society, enhance self-esteem, inspire and motivate them to reach their full potential.
"He revealed that through exposure and working with positive role models, girls will be prepared for the world of work."
He added that they also believe that the impact will be far-reaching, as "benefits will be shared as girls who benefit will in future pass their newly acquired knowledge to their children, community and country".
Mr Mbaya explained that Take a Girl to Work Day will have a formal package for participating companies and organisations.
"Once registered, the companies or organisations will be paired to a school and given a maximum of 10 selected girls they will host on the day.
"The girls will have undergone a day preparation course and will be equipped with a package comprising of an official career handbook, stationery etc," he said.
Added Mr Mbaya: "Participating companies/organisa-tions will structure the day such that the girls are exposed to various careers in their organisation.
"They will also be required to produce and give the students pamphlets or documents with as much information as possible on the careers they expose them to."
He also said they would encourage companies to keep in constant touch with the girls and mentor them and if possible affording them internships after their Form 4 and 6.
He said under the programme, his organisation would ensure the safety of all girls and protect them from abuse. Above all, he pointed out, companies they are working with are professional.
"Public relations heads and teams of the chosen companies will be responsible for the girls that day. We believe the companies who will take part in the programme are very professional and no one will take advantage of the girls' backgrounds and abuse them. Parents will also fill out indemnity forms," he said.
Outside the tours and exposure programmes participating organisations will also be encouraged to organise a tea and question answer session between the girls and women role models within their organisations, according to Mr Mbaya.
He disclosed that they hope that the programme will also twin some lucky girls from these underprivileged schools with high-profile organisations like the President's Office, UN, ZBC, embassies, etc. "Indeed, the President and ministers will be shadowed by young girls for a day.
"Imagine a young girl from Chikofa village being given an opportunity to fly to Johannesburg and back in the cockpit of a plane observing a woman pilot, what it will do to the way she looks at life and careers," he added.
He said all the registration and twinning will be done up to the end of July 2012.
Mr Mbaya also said individuals can also take their daughters or other girls in Form 4, 5 and 6 to their place of work.
"They will either have them shadow them the whole day or introduce them to many other careers at their workplace.
"Companies may set up a programme for all girls that come in on that day so that it is structured and coordinated resulting in the girls getting exposed to more than one career," he revealed.
Notwithstanding advances in legislation, the majority of women in Zimbabwe still suffer from gender inequality as they lack the skills to make them economically independent.
Women remain under-represented in the formal economy, and more so in corporate leadership positions.
This is because there are career opportunities that were previously not accessible to women, and other opportunities that individual women may not be aware of.
Additionally, there are challenges and constraints faced by the girl child in Africa. These include teenage pregnancies leading to school dropouts, HIV/Aids and child-headed families, high levels of sexual abuse, rape and violence against women and girls.
Zimbabwe could go a long way in uplifting girls if this initiative sails through as it is in line with Goal No. 3 of the Millennium Development Goals: "To promote gender equality and empower women", and is a clear recognition of the crucial role women play in the development agenda.
Empowering women and girls is essential in the global drive to eliminate poverty, achieve social justice and stabilise the world's population, according to UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki- moon.
Some countries that have successfully taken up the initiative include the UK, USA and South Africa.
Hopefully, the campaign will inspire girls to achieve their goals and ambitions and make them aware of the important role they can play in the Zimbabwean economy.