Learners from the class of 2011 have begun their journeys to ‘really bright futures’ and are paying-it-forward

Ivory Park outing to University of Wits 2011 – inspiring the leaders of tomorrow

I think I have a really bright future, thanks to everyone that has supported me… and myself!” Zintle Mtakati (Class of 2011, Masiphumelele Branch)

IkamvaYouth reported an 85% matric pass for its class of 2011 in January, but the organisation ultimately measures its impact in the number of learners who access post-school opportunities. 69% of IkamvaYouth’s matriculants have enrolled in tertiary education (including top institutions such as Wits, UFS and UCT), and overall, 97% of those who wrote the matric exams have accessed tertiary institutions, learnerships, employment, or are being supported to rewrite in 2012. 58% have transformed from beneficiaries into benefactors by becoming volunteer tutors and mentors for the next generations of learners.

The 2010 General Household Survey found that only 4,2% of South Africans aged 18 to 29 were enrolled at higher education institutions. Whereas 17,4% of white youth were enrolled at university, this was true for only 3,1% of black Africans and 3,5% of coloured persons (STATS SA, 2011). “The nation’s obsession with matric results is misplaced”, says IkamvaYouth director Joy Olivier. “It is only through access to post-school opportunities that the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality can begin to be addressed”. National coordinator Zamo Shongwe points out that “unfortunately, with the system struggling to deliver on the basics of literacy and numeracy, and most parents without the information or resources to assist their children, many young people are left stranded at this pivotal point in their lives”.

IkamvaYouth supports learners as they learn about, apply to, secure financial aid for, and enrol in universities, universities of technology, learnerships, internships and jobs. Every year since 2005 ikamvanites have achieved miraculous results, and once again, the low-cost / high-impact model’s effectiveness has been proven. Between 2005 and 2011, 66% of the programme’s 403 matriculants have enrolled in tertiary institutions. Overall, the peer-to-peer academic and social support system has ensured that 77% of matriculants since 2005 have enrolled in education, a learnership or a job 2.5 months following matriculation.

One ikamvanite who has been in the programme since 2009 has had to navigate a multitude of obstacles throughout her life including a lack of information, transport restrictions, and financial constraints. Her mother is HIV positive, works as a domestic worker and has brought her daughter up on her own. Now, she is studying for a BA in Human and Societal Dynamics at the University of the Free State on a full academic bursary, awarded by Jonathan Jansen.

The hard-working branch staff, volunteer tutors and mentors inspire and equip their learners to dramatically change the course of their lives. Two branches (Masiphumelele and Nyanga) had grade 12s for the first time, and their results are further evidence of the replicability of the model. The branches’ 2011 placement results are:









 

% matriculants accessing tertiary

% matrics overall who are writing supps/rewriting or accessing tertiary, learnerships, employment or rewriting

Makhaza

82%

100%

Nyanga

71%

100%

Masiphumelele

41%

100%

Chesterville

78%

95%

 Ebony Park

82%

87% 

Anathi Malindi, a Grade 12 from the Nyanga Branch, achieved a Bachelor pass in her exams and is now studying Analytical Chemistry at CPUT. Her mother was “so relieved and happy that her future is brighter now”. The majority of ikamvanites come from homes where one basic income supports an entire family, where unemployment, alcoholism and domestic violence are the norm, and access to university has hitherto been an idealised pipe dream. For ikamvanites it is becoming a reality. 83% of Ikamvanites surveyed in 2011 stated that IkamvaYouth had changed their expectations of what they could become. The fostering of self-belief and the support offered to learners truly allows them to proclaim that “today my life begins” (Anathi Malindi).

Placing learners at the centre of programme design and delivery ensures a lasting impact. Vuyiseka Melani, from the Nyanga branch, says “it’s not just the tutoring that makes us attend Ikamva, but the support and the love we receive from all the tutors”. IkamvaYouth works with learners in grades 8 to 12 to ensure that they do not become part of the growing cohort of unemployed and uneducated youth. As each matriculating year exceeds their own and others’ expectations, more are inspired to become volunteer tutors themselves. The organisation’s consistently impressive track record has attracted new supporters, staff and volunteers, enabling the organisation to establish two new branches (Ivory Park in Gauteng and Umlazi in KZN) and enroll 711 learners across the country in 2012.

The ikamvanites are inspirational examples of young people becoming agents of their own change and the architects of their own futures. The organisation is calling out to anyone and everyone to join and enable further success breeding success. Join us and lift as you rise!