Dear Friends and colleagues
As 2021 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to look back at the year, to celebrate with you our successes, reflect on the hurdles we triumphed over, and update you on new frontiers we have crossed.
I am excited to share that in 2021, we completed the second stage of our minimum dosage research. The research confirmed that the longer an Ikamvanite is part of our programme (ideally seven terms) the better their performance in matric. Our matric results were a true testament of the effectiveness of our model. We started 2021 with a big celebration. Despite the school closures and disruption, our 2020 Matric cohort achieved an 88% pass rate. These are learners that had been in our programme for the recommended minimum time, meeting attendance rates.
While 2020 was a year that demanded us to rethink our work and find resources to support our pivot strategy, all our work in 2020 has supported us into 2021. We have continued to support young learners in under-resourced high schools with in-person and online academic support, as well as career guidance programmes. Our work is now more important than ever as we are already beginning to witness and project the long-term effects of schooling disruptions on our learners. According to the NIDS-CRAM research released this year, the learning losses caused by these disruptions will take decades to recover from.
Organisational sustainability was a critical part of our forward looking plans. The fundraising landscape has become difficult in recent years, particularly exacerbated by the pandemic. This has invited us to think urgently on our own fundraising and income generating activities. We are excited to share that in 2021, we put together an advisory committee, to assist with our sustainability efforts. With the input from the advisory committee, we are looking to grow our self-generated income portfolio, leveraging on our existing model and resources to ensure we increase our reach and impact for the foreseeable future.
2022 brings to a close our three-year strategy and we are looking forward to bringing the team together, to carve our new three-year strategy taking us to 2025. We are excited about this chapter, and to witness the impact of these new plans on the learners in our programme.
As we reflect on the past year, and look to the future, I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to:
- Our volunteer tutors; who are at the front-line of our renowned model, and paying it forward to the young learners in the programme.
- IkamvaYouth staff, Board and Advisory committee; a hard-working team that is reliable and focused on fulfilling our mission. The team’s combined strength continues to make a formidable community of change-makers.
- Our donors; our work would not be possible without their support.
- Our stakeholders; the Department of Basic Education, the schools and community halls that house our branches, all implementing partners in the after-school space, and the parents, for your ongoing support and contribution to our work.
May you all look back at the year with pride as you have all contributed to the wonderful story that is IkamvaYouth.
Just one more thing, as you go on your holidays, if you are not already, please consider joining our community of donors. Now more than ever, we need your support. Next year, we will open our doors in January to 2,600 learners across the country who in 2022 need our support now more than ever. Please sign up as a monthly donor via our Given Gain page or donate via the SnapScan code on our website.
I wish you all a restful holiday ahead and may 2022 bring new exciting opportunities for you.
By: Damien Buckton, Fundraising Officer
More than 18 months after the pandemic hit, we are still dealing with the effects of the continuous lockdown. In turn, the subsequent school closures have forced us to be agile, to shift and pivot our approach to ensure that our learners remain engaged and supported with their school work. Every year, IkamvaYouth looks forward to the Winter School programme, an exciting period in our events calendar. 2021 saw us host our first Spring school, an additional holiday programme for learners, as our regular Winter School was disrupted due to the lock down.
For this particular programme, our focus was directed at our Grade 11 learners who are preparing for their upcoming final exams.
We reserved a week during the October school holidays, to provide academic and non-academic support to our learners across all our 17 branches. Our staff were well equipped for the programme and had mapped out various activities; energisers; workshops and excursions for our learners at our branches to accompany the tutoring sessions and to make the programme experience more enjoyable for our learners.
The essence of our holiday programme is to actively engage our learners in their studies by tackling and reflecting on some of the work they covered in their syllabus from term 1 to term 3. This is done through peer to peer learning, facilitated by our tutors as they highlight their learning gaps and support each other in bridging the gaps.
It is certainly commendable to witness our learners display their dedication to learning by attending the programme during their school holidays. Our award-winning learner-driven model, and peer to peer support was in full display, as learners were bundled up in groups tackling challenges and solving various problems together.
Kwa-Zulu Natal/Eastern Cape
Our Kwa-Zulu Natal region had 183 learners turn up for the programme. One of the highlights from our Kwa-Zulu Natal region was that, this year we were fortunate enough to welcome industry professionals from one of our partner organisations, Old Mutual who conducted a financial literacy workshop with our learners at our Umlazi and Chesterville branches in KZN. The workshop provided our learners with valuable information and taught them the importance of saving your money. It was also positive to see our learners asking questions, engaging with the session.
During the hustle and bustle of Spring School, we managed to catch up with one of our grade 11 learners, Malibongwe, at our JOZA branch who gave some insight about what he thought about his experience.
“It was important for me to be a part of the Spring School because there was a lot that I did not understand in class that I needed help with. I really enjoyed them. It was fun to be with the other learners from other schools as well because we assisted each other as some have already done some topics at their schools and they were able to explain to us what we should look forward to. It was good to have tutors around because sometimes we have questions and tutors are not there to assist us but this time we had a number of tutors who were ready to answer our questions. I enjoyed the debates with the tutors as well as them telling us how they got to university and what we need to do to get there as well”.
A total of 211 learners attended this year’s programme at our Western Cape branches.
Our Gugulethu and Nyanga, as well as the Makhaza and Kuyasa branches paired together and jointly hosted their Spring School. A notable highlight from the week was the hiking experience that our learners from our Gugulethu and Nyanga branches participated in.
To conclude a quite vibrant programme, learners and staff from our Gugulethu Branch sought out to conquer Newlands Forest while the Grade 11 learners from our Nyanga Branch made their way to Lion’s Head.
Take a listen to what Ongieziwe, a Grade 11 learner in the Western Cape, made of her Spring School experience. “Well my experience with the Spring School was great, I got to focus on the subjects I’m struggling with and having tutors around that was more helpful Spring school helped me focus on my school work because if I was at home I wouldn’t even touch books”
Our invitation for the Spring school was well received by our learners in the Gauteng and North West region. 134 learners attended this year’s programme at our branches in Gauteng and the North West. Learners at our Mamelodi branch were visited by IkamvaYouth Training Manager, Pepe Hendricks as well as IkamvaYouth Alumni Coordinator, Neo Rakoma. During their visit, our staff elaborated about the importance of working hard in order to enter a tertiary institution and paying it forward for the next generation of students.
Linda, a learner at our Ebony Park Branch also shared her thoughts about what the Spring School programme meant for her “The support provided by Ikamva was needed as some of us are behind with our school and coming to spend the whole day with learners from different schools was worthwhile as we exchanged knowledge. I learned other concepts which we have not covered at school from other learners and we even exchanged notes we had with my fellow peers”.
A big well done to all our exceptional staff and learners for the incredible commitment and support in making our programme possible! We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the generous support shown by our donors. Through this support, we have been able to continue implementing an impactful Spring School programme aimed towards changing the trajectory of the lives of many young people.
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.