IkamvaYouth Covid-19 Response

IkamvaYouth Covid-19 Response

The COVID-19 virus is likely to hit those living in under-resourced areas the hardest. It is critical that we continue to ensure that our Ikamvanites can realise their potential by succeeding in school and accessing post-school education/work.  Therefore, our work couldn’t be more important – even though schools are shut and we can’t run tutoring sessions. Tutoring will continue for learners with the use of online platforms, study material and support from parents to ensure that our mission becomes a reality. Our team is working tirelessly, from home to ensure that the organization keeps running smoothly.

Online tutoring strategy 

We have adapted our service in line with current developments. Through the use of WhatsApp, we created groups for learners, grouped by grade and by subject streams, to enable academic support to continue. Learners are able to post questions and we facilitate learning using the virtual space. Schedules for learners have been put in place, indicating times from Monday to Friday where different core subjects will be covered, where each subject will run for a maximum of two hours, with learners posting questions, and tutors responding in real-time. Before the lockdown, we distributed study guides to students, so they may have study resources they can use offline, while they are home. Our branch staff are managing the virtual tutoring space, ensuring effective learner and tutor participation as they do at branches. We have leveraged our relationship with parents, requesting them to avail their phones to their children during this period. 

IkamvaYouth internal response

The welfare of our staff is equally important to us. All staff members were briefed on the following; Maintaining high levels of hygiene, practicing social distancing, self-isolation in the event that they feel they might have been at risk, seeking immediate medical attention if any of the symptoms are showing. The staff has been working from home since the lockdown commenced and we have provided all employees with the resources they need to be able to work from home.  Our goal at this time is to ensure all our staff, beneficiaries and tutors are safe and are contributing to curbing the virus through the various methods shared. Our mission, even in this time, is to continue to provide the support our learners need to keep their minds stimulated and prepare them for when schools open. 

We encourage everyone to stay at home and practice good hygiene. 

Ikamvanites do it again!!

Ikamvanites do it again!!

We are excited to announce that our 2019 Matric class had a pass rate of 86% across the five provinces we work in. Not only did 86% of learners pass, 47% of the 2019 matric cohort achieved bachelor’s passes, unlocking access to study at university.

We are proud that over the past 17 years Ikamvanites have maintained a pass rate above 80%. We believe in the power of after school programmes. With challenges of teacher-learner ratios in township schools, many learners leave the classroom without a basic understanding of concepts. IkamvaYouth’s after-school tutoring model has filled in that gap. In the past year, over 2,500 learners received tutoring at our 17 branches.

The national numbers have also been encouraging this year, and we congratulate the Department of Basic Education for the improved matric results across the country. It is great news that none of the 72 districts recorded a pass rate lower than 60%. The national average is a record-breaking 81.3%, shattering the 80% mark for the first time since 1994.

As we celebrate IkamvaYouth and the national pass rates, it is important to remember that there are still challenges facing the education system. A microscopic look into the celebrated national statistics reveals many blockages facing, especially, no-fee paying schools where IkamvaYouth’s branches are situated. One of the biggest challenges is dropouts. Dr Nic Spuall said in a Daily Maverick article: ‘Of 100 learners that started school, 52 made it to matric in 2019 and 42 passed and 19 qualified to go to university’. This means 62% of the learners that started Grade 8 in 2015 dropped out along the way and are unaccounted for in the 81.3% pass rate.
In a quote penned by Western Cape Member of Parliament Nomsa Marchesi, she says “the real pass rate is 38.9%”. With this in mind, we cannot stress enough the importance of investing in education if we are to make systematic changes in our beloved country

To put this into perspective, our branch in Diepsloot achieved a pass rate of 97% and tertiary eligibility of 83%. Comparatively, while the provincial average might have been 87.2% for Gauteng, zooming into townships reveals a different picture. Many children are pushed out at grade 11 and those that stay are not fully supported to achieve results that allow them access to post-school opportunities. In Gugulethu, for example, one of the schools where most of our learners come from achieved a 41% matric pass.

Our work therefore is to ensure learners are supported to stay in school, sit for their final exams, pass and access post school opportunities. Our branch in Ikageng show cased their commitment to uplifting communities through education by achieving a 98% pass rate with tertiary eligibility of 88%, securing the top spot across all 17 IkamvaYouth branches.
Our Gauteng and North West District Manager, Maria Sikaundi had this to say about the impact of the programme in these communities: “The matric class of 2019 did us proud, we are grateful to have been a part of their educational journey. These results are a true reflection of their resilience and dedication to their studies. We look forward to continued collaboration and support with our partners, volunteers and mentors to deepen our impact in the communities we serve”.

In the Western Cape, despite the stark disparities between the lower and higher quintile schools, IkamvaYouth branches performed well, achieving a 78% average pass. The top branches were Nyanga with an 85% matric pass, and Kuyasa with a stellar 95% pass rate.
The Atlantis Branch in the Special Economic Zone where we have partnered with Green Cape and GrandSlots, saw a 79% pass rate and 63% of the learners being eligible for tertiary. The branch had to overcome a myriad of challenges since its opening in 2016, and remains determined to see the learners in Atlantis break the cycle of poverty through education. Many of the past year’s matric learners in the branch have come back to tutor and support the current grades, which greatly assists as the branch is away from many colleges and struggles to find tutors.

Victoria from Atlantis branch had this to say “Since 2017, through IkamvaYouth I received all the support I need. Not only academically but also the emotional support I needed to be focused and achieve. Now I have a Bachelors pass and I am going to study B.Com Financial Accounting at the University of the Western Cape”

The school where our Gugulethu branch is based had one of the lowest pass rates in the Metro Central with only two schools below it. Against all odds, the IkamvaYouth branch learners did well. A learner from the school still in her excitement shared only this “I am so happy with my results and this year I, am going to be studying Mechanical Engineering at CPUT”. Zenande, Gugulethu Branch
It is stories like these that spur us to continue to impact many young learners in the country.

Chesterville and Umlazi branches in KwaZulu Natal had an average of 83% matric pass. An interview with one of the learners reveals the true impact of the programme.
“I joined the organisation in 2015. I was able to adjust and get to know more about the program. I was able to open up with the tutors and share my challenges. I received the support at IY and the tutors always pushed me to practice at home as well. This was the best remedy especially in subjects like mathematics. Now I’m preparing for my new journey at Nelson Mandela University,” Nosihle, Umlazi, Bachelor pass with three distinctions

With many thanks to our partners in the Eastern Cape, a province that has year on year produced low national pass rates, our Joza branch achieved a 70% matric pass. We are grateful to the dedicated team of tutors who took their time to come and pay-it-forward helping learners. A special mention goes to Rhodes University, for providing transportation for their students to come to the branch for tutoring sessions.

Our branches during the last term of the year assisted matric learners with applying for learnerships, college, university applications and other post-school opportunities. With the results out, we are proud to report that our Chesterville, Ebony Park, Kuyasa, Mahikeng, Ivory Park and Diepsloot branches all got over 50% bachelor passes and we wish all our matriculants well as they prepare to start different post-school vocations.

IkamvaYouth’s CEO, Hope Chidawanyika, had this to say about the results: “IkamvaYouth supplements the hard work being done in the schools in South Africa, by providing homework help, a safe place to go after school, and individual attention. These are small things with enormous impact on matric pass rates and future incomes. Thanks to the support of all our partners, we have been able to ensure that the learners, who join our branches, take flight!”

IkamvaYouth’s work would not be possible without the commitment of our tutors, funders and supporters. We would also like to thank our biggest donors for 2019: Coca Cola Beverages of South Africa, Estee Lauder Charitable Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, Capitec Foundation, Maria Marina Foundation, Cargill and many others.




The year of high impact! 2019 reflections

The year of high impact! 2019 reflections

As we begin 2020, a year that promises to produce great stories of success, growth, and resilience, we reflect on 2019.

We started the year by celebrating with the class of 2018 on their matric passes. Close to 500 learners were enrolled, and the cohort achieved an 81% matric pass rate, with a 68% tertiary eligibility. A highlight was our Diepsloot branch, which achieved a stellar 100% pass rate and an impressive 94% tertiary eligibility!

During the year, our after school programme impacted over 3000, grade 8 – 12 learners in KZN, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, North West, and Western Cape. Throughout the 5 provinces we operate, staff, volunteers, mentors, and parents worked collaboratively to ensure the improvement of the academic performance of our learners.

Winter school was held across our branches all over South Africa, where extensive tutoring sessions and workshops were conducted. Additionally, the students went on educational excursions, supported by our donors and partners.

In 2019, we welcomed six new board members to IkamvaYouth’s non-executive board, who brought with them the expertise needed to carry the strategic goals of the organisation forward.

Without the work of our volunteer tutors, our work would have been impossible. At the end of the year, we held tutor Appreciation celebrations in two of our regions. Over 200 volunteers gathered to celebrate the invaluable work they do for young people, and for IkamvaYouth to say Thank You!

We kept in touch with our alumni, who throughout the year shared their graduation celebrations. Alumni graduations are a reminder for us how the work we do now has long term positive impact, as the young graduates are able to contribute to the economy and also support their families as they get into the job market.

A young change agent, Nwabisa Ngumbela cycled 633km through South Korea, raising funds for the organisation. She reached her fundraising goal and exceeded her target. Thank you Nwabisa for your selfless sacrifice and may you continue to pay it forward.
Without supporters like Nwabisa, and many of the individuals, corporates, trusts, foundations and NGO partners, our programmes would not be as impactful. We thank you, and may you continue to be part of the solution to South Africa’s education system.

In two days, the wait will be over for the class of 2019 as their matric results will be published. They are already champions and we wish them the best for their future endeavours as they pursue the different post-school opportunities, and of course, returning as volunteer tutors.

We are excited about the year ahead, a year of continued sustainable growth, higher impact and success for our learners and alumni, and we continue to lay the foundations for future growth.

A happy 2020 and beyond to you all!

IkamvaYouth Winter School turning up the heat!

IkamvaYouth Winter School turning up the heat!

South Africa may have been in the middle of a chilly winter, but back at IkamvaYouth, over 1,600 high school learners were braving the cold with their minds set on securing their futures. 

Every year, IkamvaYouth anticipates its annual Winter School programme, an exciting period in our events calendar. We reserve two weeks during the June – July holidays, to provide academic and non-academic support to our learners. This year, Winter School kicked off on the 17th of June and all 17 branches across the country were fully armed to tackle education, youth-led style.

This year, 320 volunteers showed up nation-wide, all working hard and ultimately contributing over 300 tutoring hours across all branches. Part of the iconic two-week programme is to actively engage our learners in their studies by reflecting on some of the work they covered in their syllabus. This is done through peer learning, spearheaded by our learners as they highlight their learning gaps and we help mend a bridge of support. This pedagogical approach is held together by dedicated volunteer tutors (many of whom were previous learners, who have transformed from beneficiaries into benefactors). 

KwaZulu Natal 

In our Kwa Zulu-Natal branches, both the Umlazi, together with the Chesterville branch held a combined Winter School programme at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) with a total of 139 learners, each receiving an average of 18 hours of tutoring. In addition, the programme afforded our Grade 11 learners, a tour around the massive Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) plant, this visit was part of their career guidance workshop which comprised of talks by the CCBSA Coastal Regional Manager, as well various CCBSA departments. 

Western Cape 

The Western Cape Programme was a resounding success, with over 850 learners attending from Grades 8, right through to Grade 11. The region achieved an aggregate of 136 hours of tutoring for the seven winter school centres, namely; ID Mkhize, Gugulethu Comprehensive Secondary School, Kuyasa, Makhaza, Atlantis, Nyanga and Masiphumelele. The Western Cape impressively tallied 25 workshops across the region to supplement our holistic approach to peer-learning.

Gauteng and North West 

The Gauteng and North-West region had an impressive learner reach of 579 learners during this years’ Winter School across Grades 9 to 11. The Gauteng branched facilitated a total of 31 workshops and this included a mini Career Indaba, a Career Expo, and a Career Day panel discussion. The branches were able to achieve collective success, through collaborations and partnerships with key stakeholders, including; The National Treasury, Anglo American, University of the Witwatersrand, Women in Engineering, Pretoria Archeology Club, Thuto Bophelo Nursing Academy, ABSA Bank, Mustard Seed Foundation and Ntsakiso Youth Solutions. 

A highlight in the North-West was the Mahikeng branch receiving an award of ‘Excellence in Recognition of Stakeholders’ from the Department of Education’s Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC). This award was to recognise the contribution made by the organisation in the after-school space.

During the hustle and bustle of Winter School, we caught up with one of our exceptional tutors Zodumo who had the following to say “Being part of Winter School was a wonderful experience, especially playing a part in moulding the learners futures and helping these young people to overcome different challenges they have with their subjects. Winter School is a great opportunity for learners to identify their problem areas in various subjects and a platform for them to engage with each other and share creative learning methods. Our learners appreciate how they are involved in deciding the direction and the pace of our tutoring. More importantly, they appreciate being asked where they require assistance. This is why I am honoured to be a part of this organisation!” – Zodumo, tutor.

Eastern Cape 

Lastly, the Joza branch in the Eastern Cape had over 15 alumni returning to tutor, displaying the spirit of paying it forward. Tutors and stakeholders conducted different workshops.  Learners gained practical experience on digital storytelling; actively narrating stories, creating and forming stories using digital media. The branch also hosted a study skills workshop, which focused on the power of association, emotional intelligence, intelligence quota and adaptability quota. The learners were addressed by various motivational speakers, ranging from staff members to alumni and distinguished guests from the community, every morning. These talks were aimed at inspiring learners, delving much on the different qualities that motivate a person to succeed. This encouraged and motivated learners to endure and strive for better.

As a direct result of generous support from our donors, IkamvaYouth has been able to continue implementing an impactful Winter School programme aimed towards changing the trajectory of the lives of many young people. In addition, we would like to commend our dedicated team of excellent staff for reminding us how Winter School earned its reputation as “a time when the organisation displays unity and team spirit across the country, which is encouraging and points to resilience amidst challenges” stated Lerato, our Acting Gauteng and North-West District Manager. 

We would like to thank you all for the incredible commitment and support in making our programme possible! 


New IkamvaYouth Board Members

New IkamvaYouth Board Members

Following the recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the beginning of June, IkamvaYouth is excited to share that six new board members have been elected to join IkamvaYouth’s non-executive board committee.  These new members have extensive experience in a range of important areas, such as finance, law, education, and accounting to name a few! IkamvaYouth’s board members are committed to providing an oversight role to ensure that IkamvaYouth remains accountable in the execution of its mission.

Welcoming new board members was our acting Executive Director, Alex Smith, who thanked each of them for choosing to be a part of an organisation that strives to break the cycle of poverty in many of our communities. “All of our board members are volunteers and commit a huge amount of time to ensure the continued success of IkamvaYouth. Congratulations on being elected to serve at IkamvaYouth, your undying passion for youth development is a crucial and mutual attribute shared across each and every person working for the organisation. IkamvaYouth is looking forward to harnessing your energy as we create innovative solutions that allow us to meet our goals,” she added.

For more information about IkamvaYouth’s board members, see their bios here.