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.
By Maria Sikaundi – Gauteng and North West District Manager
We did it again! – Our Gauteng and North West Matric Results Update.
Our Grade 12s’ moto for 2020 was #2020isnotcancelled. They went on to prove it with their stellar results.
IkamvaYouth Gauteng branches achieved an 89% pass rate for the matric class of 2020. We are also proud to share that 85% of the cohort are eligible for tertiary opportunities, with 55% achieving a Bachelor’s pass allowing them eligibility for university entrance compared to the 45.1% Gauteng province statistic.
Our Diepsloot branch achieved an impressive 100% pass rate, Ebony Park achieved 90%, Mamelodi 88%, and Ivory Park achieved a 72% matric pass rate. To top it off, all four Gauteng Branches collectively achieved 68 distinctions
Lapane, one of our Diepsloot branch top-performing learners obtained admission to the University of the Witwatersrand, to study a BSc in Computer Science. He achieved a Bachelor’s pass with 5 distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, English and Life Orientation. He had this to say:
I joined IkamvaYouth when I was doing my grade 10 and have not looked back ever since. Comparing my results from before I joined the programme, there is a huge difference. The concepts I used to find difficult I have now perfected and even help my peers. I would like to give thanks to the IkamvaYouth team at the Diepsloot branch for their contribution in making the programme a success. The norm in my community is not for success, so investing in IkamvaYouth is investing in a community like mine, giving us hope of a better future, we really appreciate their support. In 2021, I will be joining our team of great volunteer tutors. I want to give back to my community and contribute to the academics of those that come after me. A word of advice to the 2021 matric cohort is; Do work hard, but also work smart. Do what you need to do to ensure that your results are what you have envisioned from the moment you found out that you passed grade 11.
Our North West branches, Ikageng and Mahikeng followed suit. The cohort obtained an average pass rate of 92% and 68% eligibility for tertiary. The matric class of 2020 at the Ikageng branch achieved a 100% pass rate. We are proud that since the inaugural matric cohort at the Ikageng branch in 2014, the pass rate has remained consistently over 80% through the years.
Our Ikageng Branch Coordinator, Ntombi Mahlangu had this to say about the amazing results: “Congratulations to the matric class of 2020 for an amazing job staying positive through this challenging time of COVID-19. It is the amazing work of our volunteer tutors and various stakeholders that carried us through the national lockdown in encouraging learners’ persistence, determination, and resilience. We are geared to support learners to enroll in tertiary institutions and go on to succeed in their respective workplaces. Each year IkamvaYouth expands access to tutoring support for more learners. It is the type of impact that not only changes the lives of the learners but of their families and future generations. In 2021, we continue our efforts to support learners who complete the 2021 academic year successfully. We wish the class of 2020 all the best as they embark upon their further education and career journey!”.
Our Gauteng District Manager, Maria Sikaundi had this to say “Our staff worked hard to keep the online tutoring groups a conducive learning environment encouraging the learners to engage on a daily basis, and ensuring the learning culture remains supportive and safe for the learners to thrive. We worked with various stakeholders to facilitate workshops focused on health and life skills and psychosocial mental support in our online groups. These groups discussed how to stay physically and mentally well during the pandemic, how to deal with stress, time management, and spot depression symptoms. Inevitably, there are some who failed or did not fare as well as expected, it is important for the learners to understand that poor matric results are not the end of the world. We want to encourage friends and family to constantly check-up and offer support to them and encourage them to come to the branches to register for supplementary exams or upgrade their marks and of course tutoring support. We are extremely proud of all the Ikamvanites for persevering in a challenging 2020”.
All branches are currently helping learners who have passed with checking their university, internship, learnership and college application status and providing information about other post-school opportunities still available.
We wish the 2020 Matriculants all the best as they step into the world of tertiary and other post-school opportunities. You will always be part of the IkamvaYouth family.
Ikamvanites have done it again. We are excited to announce that the IkamvaYouth class of 2020, against all odds, achieved an 88% pass rate. We are also proud to share that 78% of the cohort are eligible for tertiary opportunities, with 51% achieving a Bachelor’s pass allowing them access to university entrance. Three branches achieved a 100% pass rate, and this cohort achieved 232 distinctions collectively. In the backdrop of the challenges that were brought about by the lockdown and subsequent schooling disruption, the 2020 cohort achieved no small feat.
While we celebrate at IkamvaYouth, the national results have unfortunately regressed from 2019 by 5.1%, to achieve a 76% pass rate. While we recognise the unique challenges faced by the class of 2020 nationally, the pandemic only exacerbated the already existing inequalities regarding access to quality education in the country. Learners, more so those coming from the communities we work in, were placed at a huge disadvantage.
While COVID-19 caused major disruptions globally, after-school programmes became an essential part of communities’ response to the need for continued learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Internally we were pushed to find immediate solutions to ensure that learners in our programmes continued with their schooling and received adequate academic support despite the disruptions. We shifted our programmes to online platforms and provided learners with devices and data. Our 2020 Matric results across our branches are a testament to the importance of programmes such as ours.
Our CEO, Hope Chidawanyika had this to say “I cannot begin to imagine what 2020 was like for our Matrics. The Jet Education Services’ Education, Inequality and Innovation in the time of COVID-19 research paper published that 44% of children in urban areas are living under the poverty line, and sadly, this is where our projects are based. Schooling in 2020 meant that learners, especially those in the communities we serve, were sent home to essentially teach themselves with limited contact with teachers and resources. For matrics, this happened in the most crucial year of studies. I, therefore, commend the 2020 cohort, our reliable group of tutors and staff for their resilience, achieving such stellar results despite the odds”.
In the Western Cape, we are particularly proud of our Kuyasa branch for achieving a stellar 100% pass rate, with 92% of the learners in the branch achieving a Bachelor’s pass. One of the top achievers in the Western Cape province is Nelson from our Gugulethu Branch, who achieved seven distinctions. Starting in Grade 8, Nelson was one of the learners who joined the After School Programme. This is a maths and science after-school programme we ran with Olico in partnership with the Western Cape Government’s Youth and After School Programme Office.
Bridget Hannah, Programme Manager: Youth and After School Programme Office had this to say “ In 2019, as a grade 10 learner, Nelson addressed an audience of 300 representatives of government, NGO and donors. We were deeply moved as he spoke from the heart about how he had found a home in the IkamvaYouth After School Programme, an enriching environment where he was able to explore his love for maths. Two years later, and emerging from a covid ravaged matric year, this young man has triumphantly achieved 7 distinctions. This incredible achievement is testament to his grit and determination and his success is credit to every individual who has believed in him and his journey. Well done Nelson, we look forward to hearing great things!
Nelson speaking to Africa Melane at the 2019 After-school Symposium
Worth mentioning from our Western Cape region is our Atlantis Branch that achieved a 98% pass rate, with its biggest cohort since its inaugural matric class in 2017. A recent external evaluation of the branch reiterated the experience of learners as they braved through the lockdown; one of the key benefits of being in the programme, highlighted by the learners themselves was: “that there are people out there who genuinely want to see us succeed and are available for us”. The programme indeed gave the learners a sense of hope and possibility for a bright future.
Zooming into our Gauteng and North West district, we had two top-performing branches. The Ikageng Branch in the North West and our Diepsloot Branch in Gauteng both achieved a 100% pass rate. Thatoyaona, one of our best performers from the Diepsloot Branch achieved a Bachelor’s pass and 6 distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Computer Application Technology, Life Orientation and English. He had this to say:
I joined Ikamvaouth in 2018, during my exam preparations. I was able to get in contact with any tutor for either of my subjects, and I was also able to access very good and highly recommended study guides. When the lockdown came it meant no schooling and also meant highly reduced contact with the teachers who are supposed to help us, however, IkamvaYouth was one of the first after-school programs I know of to implement online learning via WhatsApp. This online learning was not only educational and informative but it was also very exciting and fun. I will be going to the University of Pretoria to study Mechanical Engineering. Thank you IkamvaYouth.
In the Eastern Cape, despite challenges including lack of access to electricity, water and sanitation, as well as Maths and Physics teachers, the Joza branch just outside of Grahamstown achieved a 93% pass rate, with 86% of the learners in the branch being eligible for tertiary. The province itself has year on year achieved one of the lowest pass rates nationally, this year achieving a 68% pass rate. Undoubtedly the Joza branch plays a significant role in ensuring learners around Joza get access to an academic support programme, helping them improve their chances to access tertiary and other post-school opportunities.
KwaZulu Natal region achieved a steller 84.5% pass rate. One of our top-performing learners nationally was from Chesterville, achieving 7 distinctions. Mandisi achieved a full house with seven distinctions in IsiZulu, English, Mathematics, Life Orientation, Consumer Studies, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences.
Mandisi had this to say “I joined IkamvaYouth in 2018, when I was doing grade 10 and I can say that it was a great environment to be in, a conducive one too. There were tutors who helped me whenever I struggled with something, and got me to look at education differently. High school was quite challenging, especially at FET phase, but with discipline and determination I managed to be the top achiever in all my grades and passed my matric with flying colours (7 distinctions). At IkamvaYouth I learnt about the importance of hardwork and relying on your intelligence, I also developed the mentality of always aiming higher, and I’m thankful for all of that. My plans going forward are to study Computer Science at Wits University and during that period I hope to start a business of some sort.”
As the matriculants go on to access tertiary and other post-school opportunities, we can never underestimate the value of achieving a Matric pass, let alone a Bachelor’s pass. Research has continuously shown that for an economy like ours, a young person’s chances of leading a dignified life are directly related to how well they do in school. Learners with some secondary schooling earn on average R31,920 per annum while earning potential is almost 10 times higher for a learner with a Bachelor’s degree from University (earning on average R258,324 per annum). We particularly celebrate the record-breaking 51% Bachelor’s passes achieved by the 2020 cohort, as they are now on a path to earning a dignified living.
At the core of our programmes is one of our organisations’ values: paying-it-forward. The programme would not be possible if it was not for the dedication of our volunteer tutors. The tutors themselves were adjusting to the demands of the lockdown while balancing school, home life and volunteer time. While we celebrate pass rates in terms of numbers, it is the valuable relationships that our tutors and learners develop over the years that have contributed to the success of our programme. The small group support has proven time and time again to be effective.
Magdelina joined IkamvaYouth in 2018 when she was in grade 10. She obtained a matric Bachelor’s pass with two distinctions and has been accepted into a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at the University of the Witwatersrand.
She says: “My greatest inspiration is definitely my tutors at IkamvaYouth as they inspired me to fall in love with the subjects that I had a problem with, namely Mathematics and Physical Sciences. In the spirit of giving back, I will be coming back to IkamvaYouth to tutor Mathematics, Life sciences, Life Orientation and Afrikaans. To the class of 2021, I would like to say that no matter the difficulties that you experience during the year, please note that the joy of success is much greater than the temporary challenges”.
We would like to thank all our donors for supporting and investing in our work. Our work depends on the generosity of many organisations and individuals who themselves were coping with the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic presented. We greatly appreciate their commitment to our mission.
We are truly proud of the hard work across the organisation that has produced such great results. One of our core values is to nurture, within IkamvaYouth, a culture of responsibility for self and others. Our model builds, in the learners, the skill to self-study and support others. In 2020, these values truly came to life. While learners had no access to teachers and learning resources, they knew how to study on their own, they supported each other, and with the WhatsApp groups available they had support from IkamvaYouth. Really, #AfterSchoolWorks.
Well done IkamvaYouth, Class of 2020!