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About Us | Who We Are
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In 2009 Refilwe Ledwaba founded Southern African Women in Aviation and Aerospace industry (SAWIA). Though formally established in 2009 and registered as an NPO in 2011, SAWIA was conceived in 2007 when we recognised the need for an organisation to represent Southern African women and girls in the aviation and aerospace industry in the SADC region.

The organisation established GFPA. We wanted to create a platform that educates girls about aviation and aerospace at a grassroots level. We also wanted to empower them with information and access to other women in the field addressing one of the enablers of gender equality in the STEAM field. With the success of GFPA, our focus shifted from SAWIA and we registered GFPA independently as an NPC and PBO. The Foundation is currently operating in Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya and South Africa. In 2020 we established a global fund, an independent trust to support our operations and programmes in Africa.


To create an Africa where every girl is educated, included and empowered.


Our annual programmes are varied, exciting, stimulating, engaging and challenging educational initiatives that:

  1. Develop and support programmes that encourage innovation and shaping of mindsets.
  2. Make aviation and space a viable career choice for girls.
  3. Cultivate a culture of community building through volunteerism.
  4. Create equal opportunity through skills development and scholarships in the aviation and space industry. 
What We Do


“Education for girls is about more than access to school. It is also about being supported in the subjects and careers they choose to pursue – including those in which they are often under-represented” (UNICEF), such as careers in the STEAM field. 75% of future jobs are going to require STEAM. It is necessary to make STEAM subjects look desirable to girls earlier in life if we hope to retain women in the STEAM fields later. It is also important to have interventions that help increase girls and women’s interest in, and engagement with STEAM education. 


With our phased approach, we ensure that no girl is left behind by creating a pipeline system through focussed programs that grow in intensity and become tailored to our developing learner aspirations in the STEAM field.
How We Do It


We positively impact and change lives through our strong values of 
influences and informs all we do: 
We Empower our youth, ourselves and our communities through education and information, in support of SDG 4. Each one, teach one. 
We enable young minds to think creatively and solve their community problems using designing thinking and technology, in support of SDG 9 and SDG 8. 
We believe in service before self for an impactful existence entrenching Ubuntu amongst ourselves with our strategic partners, in support of SDG 17. Pay it forward. 
We Advocate for STEAM education and inclusive society in support of SDG 5 and SDG 10. 
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The Girls fly Africa Edu – hub offer essential soft , technical skills and resources to build meaningful careers in a rapidly changing world. Courses will include leadership development, career development, job preparedness and various accredited technical courses