Founder, Non Profit, Cape Town, South Africa

Frida is a force to be reckoned with. She started a community project in one of the toughest townships of Cape Town which now grew to servicing over 700 kids in local community - young kids, teenagers and disabled children. Her initiative is called Project Playground (whose motto is to strive towards providing a place where children are allowed to be children and where they can grow and become confident, competent and well functioning individuals on their own terms. This through recreational sports and educational activities.) She further went to grow the project to now include two more townships. Frida is passionate when she speaks about potential of the kids in the township and I believe her. She has seen the changes in the area and has been right in the thick of it for over six years. I was touched by her warm reception and willingness to participate in the project but also highlighting her number one source of pride, the two ladies I have interviewed and photographed - Lerato and Thuthu. Highlighting them as exceptional women was very important to Frida and I understood why, when I met them.

1. Name

Frida Vesterberg

2. Where is your hometown?

Good question, I am raised in Stockholm where I've lived my entire life, but currently my life is in Cape Town. Usually say that my heart beats for Africa but my soul will always be Swedish.

3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?

Director of Project Playground

4. What was the journey like to get where you are (career wise)? When was the mental shift to start the journey?

I have always wanted to work with community development, since I was a little girl, and that dream came true when we opened Project Playground in 2010.

5. Biggest accomplishment since making the (physical/mental) move?

Wow, difficult question, there is so much. I think the differences we have made in children's lives, big and small, on their way to increased self esteem and self worth. One of my proudest moments was in Feb 2012 when we managed to open Play on Wheels, our day care center for children and youth with various mental and physical challenges. We have had great impact on, not only the children, but on their families as well. It has been a beautiful journey with beautiful souls.

6. What was biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?

Biggest disappointment is to see how some parents neglect their children. As a mother myself I cannot understand it - but neglect doesn't always mean that parents don't care, some just don't know what to do, or lack means to give children their basic needs. We have a full time social worker who looks into those cases and work with the entire families.

7. Advice for other women?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

8. Where in the world do you feel “tallest”?

Next to my amazing colleagues, seeing how hard they all work for children's rights to be children.

9. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?

I'm a mother of two perfect children, they are my hobby.

10. What is the future goal/challenge (career and/or life goals in 5-10 years)?

Raising my children to be the best they can be, seeing Project Playground grow and become one of the most important organisations in South Africa.

11. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?

The fear of public speaking.

12. Anything you'd do differently (if you had another go at life)?

No, I don't believe in regrets, I am blessed to have walked this road, all challenges, obstacles, successes and highs have been exactly how they were meant to be.

13. What inspires you?

Passionate, ambitious people.

14. What are you hopeful about?

The townships of South Africa, there's so much talent and passion in them, I believe if only opportunities are created they too can become prosperous and peaceful.

15. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)

"Many Lives, Many Masters" - true story about a therapist whose client experiences her past lives through hypnosis.

16. Who is a “WOW Woman” in your life who inspires you (and why)?

Many women at Project Playground, so many of them have overcome the most difficult of experiences in life, and still they have chosen a job where they aim to change those social ills that they grew up in. It takes a massive amount of strength and bravery to do.

17. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?