By Damien Buckton, Fundraising Officer
July proved to be a difficult month for the nation, as we witnessed on-going unrest mainly in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region. Four days of unrest left many residents without access to basic amenities as shopping centers were closed. Many areas, particularly in township communities where we work, were left with no access to running water during that time, and movement was also limited. Learners and staff at our Kwa-Zulu Natal branches were directly affected as a result.
Through our partnership with the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT), we were able to support 53 families with food parcels we received through Gift of the Givers. The OMT has been our partner for over five years, supporting our work, to ensure we improve educational outcomes for high school learners. Through their support we have been able to reach over 2600 learners annually through our after-school tutoring programme. We therefore appreciate OMT as a partner that recognises the need for holistic interventions, and are able to support learners beyond the educational needs.
We extend our gratitude to The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust for extending their support to the 53 learners in our programme and their families. As a partner, OMT has demonstrated their commitment to supporting our mission of enabling young learners to reach their full potential, and place them on a path to earning a dignified living in the future. Beyond that, your intervention at this time has also shown your commitment to the holistic needs of our learners.
By: Sisanda Mtana – HR & Training Intern
July marked the start of my journey with IkamvaYouth as Human Resource and Training (HR&T) Intern on the FirstJob Partner Programme, which is an initiative of the FirstRand Bank Limited.
The FirstJob Partner Programme has been operating in rural and urban areas and I have joined the fourth cohort of interns. The programme provides work experience to South African youth between 18 and 34 years of age that have never previously been in formal employment.We are provided with experiences in a specific field of interest including: education, human resources, training, finance and business, information and technology, as well as arts and culture. I am excited to be part of the programme.
During my induction week, we learnt about the FirstRand Group and their procedures, terms and conditions, what they offer their interns, financial literacy, business communication and entrepreneurship. During the entrepreneurship session, interns formed groups and each group was required to develop and present a business idea. The group that I was a member of, called Writers World, jointly felt that we learnt so much from the facilitators who opened up our minds to entrepreneurship with their personal experiences. We believe that with a little support, we are able to start new business ventures. Interns from all the other host organisations mentioned that they are thankful for the induction, they learnt so much, starting from budget workshop to the entrepreneurship workshop.
Through IkamvaYouth’s induction process I learnt more about the organisation, their values and mission and what I am required to do for the organisation.
As a HR&T Intern I am still navigating my way, trying to learn more about my role and putting my theoretical human resources knowledge into practice. The few days that I have been at Ikamva House have been heart-warming. Everyone is friendly and makes me feel at home and I am excited to join the team. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a positive workplace environment.
I am also excited to meet my Learner Support Coach. FirstRand allocates each intern a Learner Support Coach, who will provide psychosocial support and together with the intern create a Personal Development Plan (PDP) aligned to the job description of the intern and skill gaps that exist. This is meant to track development and growth in the world.
I am really thankful and very excited for this opportunity, it will help me to gain more experience and knowledge about human resources and training. The mere interaction during the induction process was an amazing experience and as interns it felt as if we had become a family.
By: Damien Buckton – Fundraising Officer
It has been a month since I started in my new role. I joined IkamvaYouth in the capacity of Fundraising Officer. Since I started I had learnt about the organisation theoretically, and then recently, I took my first trip to one of our branches and visited our Atlantis Branch. This is a short write up of the day I spent at the branch getting a first-hand look at our work in action.
Arriving at Atlantis, I quickly got a feel of the atmosphere. Before we could settle down and meet the branch staff, the branch office was a hive of activity. The branch lead, Yanga Totyi, was attending to the learners and registering them for the day, going through the COVID-19 protocols. The branch tutors were coming in and out of the office to source learning materials. The branch office felt like home. Each member of the family including staff, tutors and learners felt familiar with their home and were comfortable moving around, accessing the resources they needed to start the sessions.
As the tutoring started, I made my way to the different classrooms where the tutors revised previous test papers with the learners. I was fortunate enough to sit in on some of the sessions, observe the tutors and learners. I got to witness the learner-driven model, and peer to peer support as learners were bundled up in groups tackling challenging subjects together.
After sitting and chatting with Yanga, I was given some insight into this unique branch. Established in 2016, the Atlantis Branch has been steadily growing over the years.
No stranger to adversity, in the early stages of the branch’s inception, the branch faced some challenges at its original location, eventually moving to Robinvale High School. The tenacity of the staff has seen growth in tutor and learner numbers. The relationship the branch staff, teachers and parents have nurtured has also strengthened the branch. In the past year, the branch had its highest number of matric learners, matric pass rate, and bachelor’s passes since inception. The matric class of 2020 achieved a 98% pass rate with 63% attaining a Bachelor’s pass.
What was particularly inspiring about the visit was seeing IkamvaYouth’s values in action. One of IkamvaYouth’s values is Paying-It-Forward. The tutors I had a chance to interact with were IkamvaYouth Alumni themselves, who believed that by “Paying it forward” they are directly giving back and supporting other learners just as they were supported when they were in school.
One of the tutors Leeroy’s words had a great impact on me, as they made me understand the long term impact of the programme beyond the branch. He said “Some of us were the first to pass and access tertiary in our family. We have led by example, showing the younger brothers, sisters and cousins that it’s possible. My contribution to this branch is to also support learners and make sure that they are that example to their family”. His words are in essence our mission: To enable disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty and into tertiary education and/or employment.
I am excited to be part of the IkamvaYouth team, contributing to the organisation’s fundraising goals, and being part of this mission. I look forward to visiting the rest of the branches and continuing to experience the important work we are doing.
By Thandazo Mkhize – Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal District Manager
Amidst the many challenges that came with the year 2020; an unprecedented pandemic, a gap in the academic year, and the struggles to finish the curriculum and prepare for their final exams, the 2020 matric cohort managed to come out with a number of successes.
The IkamvaYouth KZN/EC branches obtained a cumulative 87% pass rate. The region managed to secure 80% of the learners’ eligibility to tertiary, giving them a headstart as they look for opportunities that will lead them to a dignified life.
The Umlazi branch achieved 75% pass rate, 30% bachelor passes and 68% of these learners are eligible for tertiary. These results are worth celebrating considering the circumstances of the 2020 interrupted academic year. This is what Lloyd Lungu, the Umlazi Branch Assistant, had to say about the 2020 results:
“2020’s academic year was greatly challenged by the pandemic which forced the introduction of new strategies of learning and teaching. However, despite the confusion and fear brought by the Corona Virus pandemic, our grade 12 learners managed to adapt to the change and performed really well in their exams, increasing the pass rate by 2% compared to 2019 results, as well as with an increase of 11% of bachelor passes obtained. I feel proud of our grade 12 learners, this shows great commitment and hard work against unforeseen circumstances. So I’m really proud. Deep down I know they could have done better, but I’m happy with the way they’ve worked, it shows on the results”
The Chesterville branch achieved an outstanding pass rate of 93%, with 57% of these learners obtaining bachelor passes and 82% eligibility for tertiary. The branch obtained 39 distinctions out of a total of 44 learners enrolled in the year 2020.
Both branches are now focussing on assisting these learners to obtain post-matric placements. These results would not have been possible without the continued support of our volunteer tutors as well as the determination and resilience of the matrics, even in such unprecedented times.
The Eastern Cape’s Joza branch set a new standard, producing laudable results; achieving a 93% pass rate, 85% eligibility to tertiary, and 57% of the learners obtaining a bachelor pass. This is no small feat, in the backdrop of the tough infrastructural impediments faced by the region as a whole. Lutholwethu was one of the highest performers in the Joza branch and had this to say about her time at IkamvaYouth:
“I joined Ikamva in 2018 and I was doing grade 10 then. I still think that filling in that IkamvaYouth application form was one of the best decisions I had ever made for myself! IkamvaYouth would provide us with tutors that simplified most of the things I found too “hard”. There were times I’d feel like a certain topic was a little too hard and I’d obviously feel drained and helpless until I went to the branch to seek help and I’d go home feeling not so drained anymore. That way, my well-being was benefiting too (emotional and mental wellbeing). My plan is to go to Rhodes University and study towards a BCom Degree. It has always been my dream to go to university and now it is possible. It is also a passion of mine to work within the Commerce industry.”
Well done class of 2020!
By Delphino Machikicho – Western Cape District Manager
The Class of 2020 will certainly be remembered in history. The resilience these learners displayed in the face of adversity is noteworthy. The COVID 19 pandemic exposed the underbelly of the education system particularly in the Western Cape where most township schools did not have the capacity to support learners. The value of afterschool programs such as IkamvaYouth came into the limelight during this 2020 academic year. We are excited to announce that our Western Cape matric cohort achieved an astounding 86% pass rate. This is a significant increase from a 78% pass rate from the previous year. We are also encouraged by the quality of the passes that our learners attained as 56% of our learners in the province achieved bachelor passes and 76% of our learners qualify for tertiary education. This is directly in line with our mission which is to ensure that learners receive quality education for them to attain a dignified living.
The best-performing branch in the province was the Kuyasa branch that achieved a sterling 100% pass rate with 92% of the learners attaining bachelor passes. This is an incredible fit for our Khayelitsha-based branch that has grown in leaps and bounds over the past years. One of the top-performing learners, Phelisa, has been accepted at the University of the Western Cape to study Pharmacy had this to say,
“I joined IY in 2018, in grade 10. I was a new student at Siphamandla from the Eastern Cape. I had low marks and an improvement since joining IY. For us matrics 2020 was a difficult year, our school did not have online classes and I had no access to a laptop for digital classes. IkamvaYouth intervened and introduced online classes and bought us airtime to ensure that we could attend classes with tutors.”
Our GugsComp branch was one of the most improved branches nationally as their 2020 cohort achieved an 88% pass rate. The branch’s top achiever Nelson managed to achieve seven distinctions and he shared his IkamvaYouth experience, “I joined IkamvaYouth in grade 8 through the YearBeyond program and I graduated into IkamvaYouth at grade 10. I received support from IkamvaYouth through the afternoon classes and Saturday classes. Last year was difficult for us but I am glad I was part of Ikamva as I did not miss out on school. I had online classes with tutors and I managed to do well.”
The Atlantis branch achieved a 98% pass rate with its biggest matric cohort since its inception in 2016. Operating in a peri-urban community in the outskirts of Cape Town the Atlantis branch has shown exponential growth and the matric results are a testament to that. IkamvaYouth had seven learners in the Top Ten at our host school, Robinvale High School. Mrs. Elaine Carls, a parent of one of our matriculants expressed her excitement, “I am grateful for Ikamva, they helped my son a lot since he was in grade 10. Ikamva was with him every step of the way. I am very proud of my son, he worked really hard. I know he will have a bright future but he will still depend on Ikamva for support including myself as a parent. Ikamva is one of the best.”
Our other branches in Nyanga, Makhaza and Masiphumelele also performed exceptionally well with the aim to bridge the gap between our learners and those in well-resourced schools. In these three branches, 65 learners are eligible to access tertiary education in 2021. We are extremely proud of our learners and we are grateful for our tutors that sacrificed their time to work with learners beyond their contractual obligations.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020, the future is in your hands.