IkamvaYouth Chesterville: Beautifying Diversity

IkamvaYouth Chesterville: Beautifying Diversity

IkamvaYouth learners from Chesterville

The idea of a rainbow if you’ve never seen it before, isn’t as beautiful as once you see it. The image of more than 7 colours in one space screams chaos more than beauty. That’s the same thing that happens when one tells people about IkamvaYouth; we are an organisation that brings together learners of different schools and grades and offer them academic and social assistance, above all else. We also provide a space for these learners to be able to assist each other as much as possible.

We live in a  society that is inevitably divided by class, which in most cases motivates how we interact and treat one another. Same applies with the learners we work with. As much as they may share same geographical spaces, but some of their defining backgrounds differ which subconsciously interpret their approach. It is only normal for one to expect to see a lot of diversity and ‘clicks’ formed based on the type of schools our learners come from. Teenagers tend to feel more comfortable when they are within their norms, but what one witnesses once they enter an IkamvaYouth session is like seeing the rainbow for the first time after a stormy day.

I once had a conversation with a colleague of mine from the branch, we were talking about how beautiful it is to see learners that we know societally would have never even exchanged hellos or came across each other’s paths and yet there they are inside our branch assisting one another and forming friendships. It is such a great image to see our learners breaking whatever walls and boundaries put by society and seeing each other as brothers and sisters before everything else.

As new learners are pouring in at our different branches, I can’t help but smile and feel the utmost joy knowing that they are about to meet some of the most incredible young people of their age, who are only defined by the brighter future and being each other’s keepers (Peer to peer support).

By: Zamile Hlongwana ( Chesterville BA)

Up, Up and Away! KZN Ikamvanites soar fuelled by 41 distinctions

Up, Up and Away! KZN Ikamvanites soar fuelled by 41 distinctions

Learners have good reason to celebrate having achieved an 83% matric pass rate. 

Kwazulu-Natal saw an increase in its matric pass rate from 60.7% last year to 66.4% in 2016. This Province also managed to produce the second-largest number of bachelor passes, had the largest number of candidates sitting for the 2016 final exams and had the highest participation rate of African learners in Mathematics. Despite the increase in their pass rate, Kwazulu-Natal remains in the bottom 3 provinces with the lowest pass rates along with Limpopo and the Eastern Cape (all three making up 54.5% of the 2016 NSC candidates), reflecting the various socio-economic issues that plague the three most rural  provinces in South Africa.

Ikamvanites in Kwazulu-Natal managed to achieve an amazing 83%, surpassing the Provincial rate by almost 17%.

IkamvaYouth has two branches in the Province; in Chesterville (at the Vuyani Nkosi Memorial Youth Centre) and in Umlazi (at the AA Library). Chesterville Ikamvanites saw an 88% pass rate this year with 76% achieving either Bachelor or Diploma passes, ensuring eligibility for tertiary study. Umlazi Ikamvanites also achieved far above the provincial pass rate, hitting 77%. 53% of these learners achieved Bachelor or Diploma passes. Together, the branches had a matric cohort of 64 learners. These Ikamvanites managed to achieve a total of 41 subject distinctions; a really impressive achievement. 

Nomathemba Ndwandwe started at IkamvaYouth in 2014 as a grade 10 learner. She says, “I’m so excited and proud of myself. I achieved a Bachelor’s Degree  with 2 distinctions. My parents are really proud of me. I am the first in my family to pass Matric”.

Thabisile Mfeka joined IkamvaYouth in 2013 as a grade 9 learner. She says “it has been surreal and I still can’t believe that I’ve made it this far.  I appreciate all the support that I’ve received from IkamvaYouth. I doubt that I would’ve made it without IkamvaYouth. I thank all the tutors, staff and sponsors for making all of this possible. I was lucky enough to be part of something as wonderful as IkamvaYouth.”

Watch this interview with Matriculant Thabisile Mfeka to find out what she will be up to this year

Tanyaradzwa Chiyambiro is the Chesterville branch’s top achiever, having joined in 2013. “I am currently feeling relief and am very happy since I received my results; hopefully Wits University will approve my application to study Biomedical Engineering which is what I really really want to do. IkamvaYouth has been amazing; a combination of learning and fun. Being a part of this organisation has been awesome and I’ve learnt the importance of helping others and giving back.”

IkamvaYouth’s tutoring programme is available to learners from grades 9 -12, three times a week and for two weeks during the winter holidays. The tutoring programme is made possible thanks to the hearts and smarts of the amazing volunteer tutors; most of whom are university students and many of whom are ex-learners from the programme. The organisation operates in KZN thanks to very supportive partners, including Coca-Cola Beverages South AfricaAnglo-American Chairman’s FundDurban University of Technology, Zoe – Life, and CAFSA, in addition to the municipality, through the Department of Arts & Culture, which provides access to branch venues free of charge, and the schools and other tertiary institutions in the region.

“We are so proud of our learners, volunteers, and colleagues for this amazing achievement. Thanks to our generous sponsors and supporters; we are so appreciative for their ongoing support,” said Joy Olivier, co-founder and director of IkamvaYouth.

Thandazo Mkhize, Chesterville’s Branch Coordinator, says she is very proud and excited about the Class of 2016’s achievements. “These learners have been very consistent throughout the year and their results have proven that hard work really pays. I would like to really appreciate all those who were involved in making sure that the learners do their best, we would not have made it here without the help of the Almighty, and our very hardworking staff, volunteers, parents and our very reliable sponsors, thank you!” 

“We are delighted to be in a fortunate position to contribute to the greatness of South African young people through our partnership with IkamvaYouth. To the class of 2016, well done. You are the reason why we will keep investing in young South Africans.” says Tshidi Ramogase, Public Affairs & Communications Director at CCBSA.

About
IkamvaYouth is a non-profit organisation, enabling disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The organisation provides free after-school tutoring, career guidance, mentoring, computer literacy training and extra-curricular engagement to learners in grades 8-12. The organisation is currently operating in 16 townships in 5 provinces across South Africa. To find out more, go to www.ikamvayouth.org or call Hetile on 062 105 1707
 

IYKZN MAKING A DIFFERENCE

IYKZN MAKING A DIFFERENCE

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of life we lead”-Walter Sisulu

Often as human beings we care the most about being judged and praised by what we have accumulated for ourselves; IkamvaYouth KZN tends to differ as we believe we need to be judged by the footprints we leave behind as we go forward.

It is heart-warming to see learners getting excited, feeling valued and mostly recognising the efforts and support from the team in making sure that they remain, succeed and excel in school and in life as a whole. The excitement in their faces and confidence in talking about IkamvaYouth and its benefits gives the IYKZN team courage to keep on keeping-on and positively impacting the lives of learners and the general communities we exist within.

IkamvaYouth solely exists with one big aim and that is to ‘help learners to pass, progress and achieve their dreams in life’. IYKZN is undoubtedly carrying that mission as well, to make a difference to the lives of our learners, tutors and all those who forms part of this organisation.

There is nothing that makes the IYKZN family as happy as reaching the office in the morning to find such a lovely note from one of the learners… One thing that comes first is a smile and then the thought of how just a little amount of effort can go a long way.

As we are reaching the end of term 1 of 2016, IYKZN is still carrying forward the objective of making more of a difference, more positive impact and importantly igniting the spark within our learners…

Here’s to making a difference….!!!!

Ikamvanite Career Spotlight: Environmental Studies

Ikamvanite Career Spotlight: Environmental Studies

If you grew up in the 90s, you may remember Captain Planet and the Planeteers: the animated series about the superhero and his team of five youth from around the world, whose job was to defend the earth against various disasters, and educate mankind to prevent these from happening again. Climate change and environmental/conservation issues are a Global topic at the moment. South Africa is facing its worst drought in 23 years (City Press, 19 January 2016), with the worst affected areas being Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape, and the Karoo. It only makes sense therefore, that this first article in the series of IkamvaYouth’s “ Ikamvanite Careers Spotlight”, we focus in on our very own superheroes, whose passion is also to defend and protect the earth: Alumni in the Environmental sciences/management field. We caught up with two of them, to find out more about what inspired their interest in pursuing this field.

Nolwazi Hlongwane, who matriculated in 2010 is one such alumni. She joined IkamvaYouth Chesterville in 2008, and has completed her BSc Honours in Environmental Sciences at the University of KwaZulu Natal. She is now doing her Masters degree in Ecological Sciences, also at UKZN. Here’s what she had to say about what inspired her to pursue Environmental studies:

Different environmental crises that were documented in the media motivated me to choose this career path. I wanted to understand different environmental forces and processes that are occurring in the environment as a whole and to understand what we as the youth of this country can do to save biodiversity for future generations to come. Well, as a high school pupil back in 2009 I didn’t understand much about environmental process taking place in the world we live in and what drives the great environmental changes we are experiencing today. I was just in love with nature and just curious about different environmental catastrophes documented in different media platforms and a bit of knowledge gained in geography and life sciences.

We also asked her to share some insight into the current water crisis, and share some tips for what we ordinary South Africans can do:

it is a global issue that needs to be dealt with by all parties… What we can do as South African citizens is to educate people about different environmental issues created by us, that are causing all these natural disasters such as drought and how we can live in a more sustainable way that does not harm the environment… Government needs to intervene and work with scientists in different fields… and to encourage the public to save water

Another Ikamvanite doing amazing things is in the  field of Environmental studies field is Sinethemba Kameni (also one of our board members), who matriculated in 2005, and has an honours degree in Materials Engineering from UCT. Sinethemba shares one of the highlights of his career, while working at Nampak:  

I worked on Homecare products e.g. your Handy Andy packaging materials. Most of these packs are made from recycled materials e.g. HDPE or PET materials. When I joined we were using 100% virgin material. I asked myself, why? As I knew, technically we can add a percentage of recycled materials and still achieve the same functionality. Plus we can save on cost. Furthermore, we had a strategy, Vision 2020, which is all about responsible sourcing and halving our pack materials by 2020. In 2015 we were sitting at about 17% although we should be at about 25%, so we were behind. That gave me the drive and a mission to contribute, and millions of Rands were saved. Besides the fact that what I did was aligned to my work goals, I am also passionate about the “green” concept. It’s just the right thing to do. I believe there is so much we can do and contribute to the world.

We also asked Sinethemba to share some pearls of wisdom, with regards to what can be done to contribute to saving water. Here’s what he had to say:

Water is one of our key resources. I believe educational programmes on how to save water, can go a long way. Global warming is real. Shower for 5 mins, use a glass of water when brushing teeth, ensure the tap is closed after using… these are small but big impact steps one can take at home level to contribute.

This drought impacts not just on rural areas and farmers, but those of us in urban areas are also feeling its crippling effects, most notably through the significant increases in staple food items. As Nolwazi and Sinethemba have noted, we are all called to action to play our part in saving water. Education is noted by many in the field as the key to addressing climate change and environmental conservation issues. Yes, on an individual level, by equipping people with the knowledge and understanding of what they can do (e.g. reducing water consumption & waste, maintaining pipes & taps, planting trees, etc), but also on a broader level. Educational institutions and organisations have a huge role to play in developing environmental managers and scientists such as Sinethemba and Nolwazi, who will go on to make significant contributions to the field, and indeed, the world.

IkamvaYouth is so proud to have played a part in ensuring that these superheroes get to where they are in their careers. We hope they serve as inspiration for other Ikamvanites, not only those who are currently pursuing their studies in the field, but also those who are still in school, to consider careers in the environmental management/science field, and also become real-life Planeteers!

Chesterville Tutor Appreciation 2015

Chesterville Tutor Appreciation 2015

After an eventful and successful 2015 it was time to honour and appreciate Chesterville tutors who played a first-hand role in assisting the kids in passing and improving their marks. Tutors openly volunteer their time and knowledge to the children without any monetary compensation expectations. The least we could do as a branch was to show love and appreciation.

 

It was a unanimous decision that we all go out to Galleria Mall for lunch and games, just to relax and have fun, and for the tutors to get an opportunity to unwind while building stronger relationships with each other, and with staff, as a team. After the delicious and filling meal, the tutors were handed hampers containing an IkamvaYouth branded hoodie, a thank you letter and a small goodie inside. The tutors had been divided into teams earlier, and were asked to create a name for themselves and form a war cry for their team. After the lunch and mini prize giving, we then played a remarkable game of tenpin bowling the members of each team started teaching themselves and each other how to bowl, it truly was a fun experience as teams were cheering each other and smiles and laughter was shared. By the end of the session some were looking like semi-pros, while the rest of us were merely just enjoying the thrill of knocking down as many pins as our hands could possibly manage, however minimum they were.

 

We then capped off the day by playing some arcade games which everyone seemed to love, well the screams of excitements and game reflexes were enough for us to draw that conclusion. Some people obviously flourished more than others in the gaming department, but the end result was the same which was people having massive amounts of memorable fun together as the IY family. Not only was it a successful tutor appreciation but it also became a team building adventure which brought forth excitement and smiles.

 

Gciniwe Zulu one of the tutors shared her excitement “the day was good and indeed it was an awesome trip, we enjoyed ourselves by playing games, being together as the IY family. It was a way to know each other as tutors.

MASSIVE GRATITUDE TO TRANSUNION, GSK AND CAF… SIYABONGA

MASSIVE GRATITUDE TO TRANSUNION, GSK AND CAF… SIYABONGA

 

Being an NGO whose sole responsibility is to ensure that the children in the society improve their marks and venture into post matric establishments, we have a number of people coming in and out of the centre. Therefore quality and comfortable furniture is essential for productivity, which is why we forward massive gratitude to TransUnion, GSK and CAF SA for the donation of office furniture, their support helps us continue in our mission to assist those in need from in and around our community. The generous support of individuals like them makes it possible for our organization to exist and to make the community a great place to live in. TransUnion donated office desks, a number of chairs, cabinets, a television, toaster and a microwave, items everyone at the office is excited about.

 

All the furniture is great especially the desks and comfortable chairs, and people have stopped fighting for the coordinators chair when she is not around, now there are plenty of comfortable chairs to go around. The setup looks very professional and can allow us to be more productive and these resources will be crucial for long term sustainability of our organisation. The need for quality studying/tutoring desks and chairs seemed small at first but we now realise how much it affects both concentration and productivity.

 

The look of amazement from anyone walking in is priceless, it is like they have just walked into an unfamiliar territory. Questions from the tutors and students enquiring about where the furniture came from have been coming in thick and fast. Some students even going on to say “We thank the donors immensely, we hope one day we meet them so we can extend our gratitude in person, and we hope they continue giving to other people in need like they did to us, God bless them”. One tutor who goes by the name Emeleo Mhlongo had this to say “The Donation received from TransUnion has brought great change in our office department, because now we have efficient desks to work on and Shelves wide enough to store more books for learners. Now we have a microwave for staff and tutors who carry lunch to the office. We also have swift relaxing chairs for better and longer concentration preventing back aches.”

 

We wish TransUnion, well in their new office and promise to enjoy all the “new” furniture for ours. Thank you again to all who contributed (TransUnion, GSK and CAF SA) and for supporting our efforts.`