The party is on! The much anticipated Winter School is nearly here. Applications are in, speakers are organised and a variety of amazing activities have been coordinated by the IkamvaYouth team and our wonderful volunteers. There are 5 winter schools taking place around South Africa – 3 in Western Cape, Gauteng, and KZN.

It all begins on the 27th June and will run until 16th July. These events bring together all the Ikamvanites; learners, volunteers, staff members, parents. 440 learners from some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged areas are spending their holidays developing their skills, identities and aspirations at the career oriented winter schools. We are lucky enough to have the support of many volunteers; tutors, speakers, and workshop facilitators, to help these events run smoothly (we hope!)

Ikamvanites get a talk at the 2010 Winter School

It is a way of introducing young learners from the townships to a wider world of opportunity through; targeted career advice and mentoring activities, supplementary tutoring, excursions and workshops, and through career speakers offering advice and support to enable the learners to access tertiary education and employment. IkamvaYouth’s volunteers are university students (many of them former IkamvaYouth learners), international volunteers, retirees, and subject specific professionals. In addition we are blessed with the support of University of  Western Cape (UWC), TsiBA, Durban Uninversity of Technology (DUT), Masiphumelele Library and Siyakhula Centre. All these institutions have generously offered their facilities and time free of charge.

IkamvaYouth is responding to South Africa’s educational crisis. South Africa’s educational system is ranked 97th out of 100 educational systems worldwide. In addition to this abysmal ranking, there is the pervasive problem of unequal access to education, particularly higher education; Only 10% South African youth access tertiary education, of which only a fraction come from townships (SAIRR, 2009), Matric pass rate of 59.9% Black learners compared to 99.6% for White learners in 2008 (WCED, 2008). IkamvaYouth addresses these inequalities and will redress this.

The Winter Schools are a step toward this. They offer space for youth to escape the harsh realities of township life, and while doing so they foster the ambition to succeed and build the capacity of youth to seize the opportunities available to them. The 2011 programme has taken a very career focused approach. Learners have been asked to sign up for different activity streams:

1) Leadership, health and life skills 2) Creative Expression and Arts 3) Media and Journalism 4) Technology and Engineering 5) Environmental Science, Geography and Sustainability 6) Physics and Chemistry 7) History, Social Justice and Political Science 8) Entrepreneurship and Business.

By grouping youth on the basis of their interests we hope to maximize the impact of workshops, excursions and speakers.

The schedules are jam-packed! The morning consists of small-group tutoring sessions focused on securing the literacy and numeracy fundamentals that often inhibit learners from achieving their potentials. Tutors work with learners in small groups, and provide real-time feedback in response to areas of difficulty. The afternoons are filled with a range of enriching workshops and excursions; from Wits University, to the Cheetah Outreach Park, to social entrepreneurship seminars, to satellite and engineering workshops, to pottery, to science practicals, to yoga, to writing, producing and printing a magazine. It is all here!

There is always room for more. If you want to get involved at any of our branches just contact the branch coordinators. Simple as that!

See branch venues and contact information;

Makhaza Branch,  Liesel Bakker: liesel@ikamayouth.org, at TsiBA

Nyanga Branch, Nombu Dziba: nombuyiselo@ikamvayouth.org, at UWC

Masihphumelele Branch,  Nicolas Commeignes: nicolasc@ikamvayouth.org, at Masiphumelele Library (masiphumelele_map_1.pdf and masiphumelele_map_2.pdf)

Ivory Park Branch, Joe Manciya: joe@ikamvayouth.org, at Siyakhula Centre

Cato Manor Branch,  Khona Dlamini: khona@ikamvayouth.org, at Durban University of Technology