Community Hero – Dawn Roode

Community Hero Campaign in partnership with Elizabeth Arden

Sparrow Society and Elizabeth Arden have joined forces again to bring encouragement and a bit of spoils for a special lady in South Africa who is going above and beyond to serve her community. For the month of January, we have chosen to honour an incredible woman, someone whose passion and inspiration has always been to see victims become survivors!


Unsung hero. noun. a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution; a person whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged. Congratulations to Dawn Roode, a true unsung hero of Cape Town!

“My motivation in life has always been that it doesn’t matter where you live, it is who you are and who you want to be and become. I can speak from experience that it doesn’t matter your circumstances, you can come out at the top!”

Eight years ago Dawn Roode started a Matric dance project to support young girls and boys in the Kuilsriver area who cannot afford going to their matric dance. Today, she works with 5 high schools in the area and support over 60 teenagers each year to make their dreams come true on their Matric Dance night (Prom). Dawn has also served in the Victim Empowerment Program for Kuilsriver police service for the past 12 years, providing trauma support for victims of crime, domestic violence, fire, armed robbery and even rape. She also started a feeding scheme for over 100 children in Kuilsriver and many more.
I had a coffee with Dawn to learn more about her story and how it all started.

Would you mind sharing a bit on your story and how you got involved with community support?
“As a kid I grew up in District 6 in Cape Town before my family was moved to Hanover Park in later years, I remember it as difficult years, but “lekker”! Even though I grew up in an area that is well known for gang related violence, I did not let my circumstances hold me back. I had a wonderful childhood and a house full of love and care from my parents. From a young age I always had a passion for the youth. From the age of 11, I got involved in church activities and was even a youth leader at my church from the age of 14! After I finished high school I decided to study education and became a Grade 1 teacher for 20 wonderful years at Huguenotes Primary in Mitchells Plain. I love to teach children and adults to read and write! “

Can you share with us more on the Matric Dance Project and how people can become involved?
“The matric dance project was born 8 years ago to support young girls and boys in the community who comes out of disadvantaged areas and communities. Their families couldn’t afford sending them to their matric dance. Our mission is to make these children feel valued, loved and experience feeling like a princess and prince at the end of their high school years. We have partnered with 5 schools in the community and support more than 60 teenagers each year. We arrange matric dance clothes for the girls and boys, get their hair done at professional hair salons, get their make up done, and include a motivational session. We want these teenagers to end their high school years strong, to study, believe and dream!”

Can people become involved and support you in this project?
“Absolutely! You can donate your matric dance dress, shoes and accessories for these girls and boys! If you are able to do make up and hair it will also be welcome! We also started a “Adopt a matriculant program” 6 years ago where you can come alongside a matriculant to motivate him or her in their last year of high school, and encourage them to dream big.”
What is your inspiration to impact your community?

“My motivation in life has always been that it doesn’t matter where you live, it is who you are and who you want to be and become. I can speak from experience that it doesn’t matter your circumstances, you can come out at the top! My inspiration is to see a victim become a survivor. My passion is to see children empowered to study further and not let their circumstances hold them back. I want to inspire and teach young girls and boys to become role models for other children.”


Lets all #BeLikeDawn and #BeBetterHumans!

Well, there you have it, an inspirational woman! Thank you Dawn for making a positive impact your community and inspiring young people to rise to the top! You deserve to be honoured as a hero!
Thank you also for all the nominations received for our Elizabeth Arden and Sparrow Society Community Hero Award! We have so many incredible ladies in South Africa serving their community and making a difference! If you nominated someone that didn’t win or know of a women that deserves to be celebrated, send us a message at She might just be our next HERO!


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