After serving IkamvaYouth for the past three years, it is with a heavy heart that I write this message to you, my last Annual CEO Letter for IkamvaYouth.
I have symbolically titled this year’s letter, Onwards and Upwards, because, for the past three years, I have experienced IkamvaYouth as an organisation that continuously moves, innovates, and grows. Onwards and Upwards. As we come to the end of another year, and the end of my time at IkamvaYouth, I have great confidence in the organisation that allowed me to lead it over the past three years.
We started 2022 in high spirits as our Matric Class of 2021 achieved a 90% matric pass rate, and 79% achieved tertiary eligibility. Our Bachelor’s passes, which have been on an upward trend over the past years, maintained the growth, with 54% of the learners attaining university eligibility. This set the stage for the placement of learners into opportunities. We are proud to have placed 89% of the learners into universities, TVET colleges, learnerships, jobs and various other opportunities. As I exit, I anticipate bigger celebrations as the Class of 2022 collects their results and starts the next chapter of their lives.
When I joined IkamvaYouth in 2019, we were concluding our 2020-2022 strategy. I am proud of the work that we all achieved to ensure the quality delivery of our programmes for the benefit of young learners. We achieved some of our highest matric pass rates and placement rates in a decade. We improved our learner reach and managed to turn out financial surpluses in spite of Covid. It is fortuitous that as I exit IkamvaYouth, we are concluding the development of the 2023-2025 strategy that will guide the organisation for the next three years. The strategy design process was robust, reflecting on success, and innovating towards growth and high impact for the future.
One of the biggest achievements of the team as we start our 2023-2025 strategy was the development of our NEETs Intervention for young people who are Not In Education, Employment or Training. We have brought on new funding partners who are supporting the programme to provide ready-for-work courses for the NEETS and support them with placement into jobs and further training. I am excited about this programme and foresee its impact on our alumni who are NEETS and the broader communities we work with.
Another achievement has been the full adoption of Special Projects. Over the years, we have been contracted to implement short-term youth development interventions that have increased our reach and impact, and simultaneously raised funds for the organisation. I am excited for the future of the organisation as it continues to diversify its revenue through similar interventions, ultimately aiming for long-term sustainability.
I have enjoyed serving an organisation with such a young spirit. I always felt energised as I visited our branches. Branch Coordinators, Branch Assistants, and our volunteer tutors create such a vibrant, fun learning space for the young learners in our programme. Every opportunity to play a game, or sing together, we always took it. The environment you create produces great results year on year. Thank you for all your work and may you continue to push and support the many learners that join our programme for better outcomes at Matric.
One of the special gifts IkamvaYouth has is a community of committed supportive donors, who are as invested as we are in the impact of our interventions for young people. My interactions with donors always felt like a thinking space, where we all grappled with ideas on how to elevate our programming. Beyond that, we also reflected on many societal and topical issues facing the country. These interactions left me hopeful. Thank you IkamvaYouth donors and supporters. Your investment and commitment to the organisation are immense and impactful.
To the IkamvaYouth Board, thank you for believing in me in 2019 and for giving me the opportunity and responsibility to take the organisation forward. I often thought during many of our meetings and interactions, “what a privilege it is that I get to work with an active and engaged board”. Thank you for being the accountability lens. Thank you for your commitment.
Most importantly, I would like to say thank you to all the staff at IkamvaYouth. You made all of this possible. Thank you for welcoming me. Thank you for embodying the onward and upwards attitude towards your work. Thank you for your commitment to our mission: , “ to enable disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty and into tertiary education or employment.”
I am grateful for my time with you all. You are well-positioned to thrive. So, onwards and upwards team.
IkamvaYouth will always have an avid supporter in me.
Goodbye for now.
IkamvaYouth Class of 2021 Placements
The class of 2021 portrayed great resilience by achieving an outstanding 90% pass rate. This is after two years of disrupted schooling due to the COVID 19 pandemic. IkamvaYouth not only supports learners to pass matric but to also access post-school opportunities such as tertiary education, learnership and employment opportunities.
IkamvaYouth is proud to announce a placement rate of 89% with 45% of learners having been placed into tertiary, 11% pursuing higher certificates and short courses, and 10% in jobs and learnerships. 23% are improving their matric results through supplementing and upgrading. 11% of our learners are currently Not in Education, Employment and Training (NEET).
A total of 242 learners secured places in traditional universities across the country such as University of Cape Town, University of KwaZulu Natal, Rhodes University, University of Johannesburg and the North West University. It is encouraging to see the number of learners getting access to traditional universities in comparison to previous years.
Ikamvanites are enrolled in a wide range of courses, including Humanities & Social Sciences, Business, Administration & Management, Education, as well as Science & Engineering. The diversity of career streams taken by the learners is encouraging, and it makes us proud to be supporting the learners to access these respective career choices. The branch staff and mentors play a vital role in exposing learners to different career options.
It is important to have partnerships with various organisations so that our learners who do not go tertiary have a variety of options to choose from in order to advance themselves. IkamvaYouth has enjoyed meaningful relationships with organisations such as the Amy Foundation in the Western Cape.
The partnership with the AmyFountation started in 2021 when we were invited to the launch of their youth skills development programme. Sinethemba, the IkamvaYouth Nyanga branch coordinator, is an AmyFoundation alumni and he facilitated the partnership between IkamvaYouth and AmyFoundation. The partnership started off by placing four (4) 2020 matriculants from the Nyanga branch. We are proud to announce that for the Class of 2021 we have placed ten (10) from the Nyanga and Gugulethu branches. The partnership is growing daily and we are also looking to have more of the branches placing their learners there. This partnership is essential to our mission of ensuring our learners access dignified livelihoods through education. –Western Cape District Manager
Anele joined the IkamvaYouth Chesterville branch as a grade 9 learner in 2018 and completed her matric in 2021. She obtained a bachelor pass and 3 distinctions in IsiZulu, Business Studies and Life Orientation. Anele is furthering her studies at Rhodes University and pursuing a career in Business Science.
Ikamva Youth has played a major role in my achievements, they helped me with online tutoring during the COVID-19 pandemic and once restrictions were relaxed I was fortunate to get internet access for my assignment that needed research from the branch. IkamvaYouth assisted me to prepare for my exams and also gave me motivation to study hard. IkamvaYouth not only provided academic support but emotional and mental support also.
I am grateful to the IkamvaYouth staff and tutors for being a great support system and helping me to navigate through my high school and assisting me to curve my career path.
We wish the class of 2021 great success. Our work continues as we support the current matric cohort with applications.
With much excitement, our holiday programme is back in-person. Learners, tutors and staff were in high spirits as they spent the two weeks of the programme with full days of intensive academic support, a full lineup of workshops, games, and excursions.
The first week was our Winter School supporting grade 8-11 and the second week was our Matric Week, aimed at our 2022 Grade 12 cohort. 1,450 learners showed up each morning across the country to participate in the programme. 330 tutors supported the learners during the two-week programme across all branches.
We could not have been more proud of our volunteers as they played an instrumental role in the planning and execution of the programme. With the branch staff’s guidance, our volunteer tutors were responsible for liaising with educators for the content focus and dividing learners according to their academic strengths in their different subjects. Experienced tutors focused on at-risk learners and delivered targeted support. Beyond the tutoring, many stepped in as logistics managers, to ensure the porgramme was on schedule daily, to ensure the lunches arrived on time and to manage the excursions logistics. Winter School gives us an opportunity to train tutors on leadership as they take responsibility for their work, and execute their tasks, in turn equipping them for the world of work.
“Winter school was a very fun and warm experience for me. And the pleasure of being able to influence and inspire the next person was the reward I got out of this program. It felt so good standing in front of the learners and scratching a part of their minds that’s hungry for more knowledge and self-mastery. And that was so refreshing for me.
One of the most important things I learnt during the winter school program was the importance of balancing work with play. And how that plays a vital role in the wellness and the well-being of an individual to balance the two. As well as how to network and connect with other people.
From day one, I felt at home, being around this inspiring environment. And one thing I appreciate most about this space here at IkamvaYouth is that it’s so easy to be inspired. Whether you’re a volunteer or a student. And the social aspect of this environment makes it easy and fun for people to learn from each other”.
– Zanethemba Mdyogolo, Winterschool tutor
Western Cape District
The Western Cape team turned up the heat this winter. 662 learners attended the programme, supported by over 100 tutors. Learners in Grade 8 and 9, who are part of the Math programme spent time in the labs, closing the gaps from the first two terms. Grade 10 -12 covered their core subjects. The programme incorporated learning through play with learners participating in Talent Show, and subject-based quiz sessions. The afternoons were packed with workshops including Dangers of Drug & Alcohol abuse by SANCA, and a workshop on Gender-Based Violence by Ilitha Labantu, a presentation from False Bay College to name a few. The week ended with our Masiphumelele Branch visiting one of our partners, Cognia Law Office to experience the world of work.
Gauteng and North West Region
519 learners participated in the holiday programme in the Gauteng and North West, and 195 tutors were in attendance. The programme was a huge success, as learners spent an aggregated 130 hours in tutoring sessions covering various subjects. Across the six branches, the region hosted over 20 sessions through partnerships with key stakeholders such as National Youth Development Outreach, National Prosecuting Authority, and Africa Beyond 4IR. Some workshops included: Self-awareness, Time management and Goal Setting, Kid Coders Programme, Anti-bullying Awareness, and Tertiary Readiness Workshop to mention only a few.
“It is inspiring to see that the community still holds dear the value for supporting and grooming the black child. As teachers, we are trying our best to educate and see our learners prospering. However, we are encouraged to see tutors volunteering their time to capacitate after-school support so learners do not deviate from their school work. Thank You IkamvaYouth!”
Mr S. Ziqubu, educator (Mamelodi Secondary School)
KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape Region
Our KZN and Eastern Cape acting District Manager Sibonelo had this to say: “We are really fortunate to be in a position where we directly intervene, and change the educational outcomes of our learners. The COVID-19 pandemic caused so many learning gaps over the past two years, but what we know is that poor educational outcomes existed before the pandemic. Since after-school programmes such as ours are well positioned to continue to offer “catch-up” interventions that bridge these learning gaps, we are proud of the work we managed to do for the learners during the holiday programme. Learners were engaged, and tutors came prepared for the sessions”
The region hosted over 269 learners and up to 50 tutors showed up to support the learners. The two KwaZulu Natal jointly held their holiday programmes at Umlazi Branch. The programme included revision sessions from the past two terms and conducted assessments through reviewing past exam papers. A highlight from the region was “ Interview Day” where learners dressed up in smart formal attire. The branch staff took the opportunity to facilitate an interactive session where learners were engaged in conversation on access to various career paths, access to tertiary, financial literacy, as well as leadership skills. The Joza Branch in Makhanda also hosted Mental health awareness facilitated by Rhodes Psychology clinic.
We would like to thank all the learners for showing up and showing such dedication to their education. We would also like to thank our volunteers for their time and for paying it forward.
Without our donors and partners, we wouldn’t have been able to host the holiday programme. We thank you for your generosity and for ensuring that together, we support the young people in our programmes to produce better learning outcomes.
By: Damien Buckton, Fundraising Officer
‘Paying it forward’ is a core component in our award-winning model and it is a value we are proud to say is embedded in the ethos of our work. This component was on full display as IkamvaYouth alumni were invited to Masiphumelele High School to talk to the next generation of matriculants about the world of work and the various career opportunities available to them.
Our Masiphumelele Branch held their Career Expo in June. This coincided with a month that celebrates young people’s drive and desire to ensure that their education is able to propel them to reach their dreams. The event was co-hosted by Sihle Sonanti and Aphiwe Sobutyu, now IkamvaYouth staff members who started their journeys as learners in the programme.
A packed courtyard showed just how eager the learners were to listen to the personal stories and anecdotes shared by some of their former tutors. The panelists were, themselves, once IkamvaYouth learners and tutors. On the panel was Sanele Bani, a culinary chef; Zintle Magazi, a researcher; Lubabalo Peter, a Librarian; Someleze Jabe, university student and Ayabulela Pali, Public Management graduate, with Zuki Lamani, Social media influencer. Drawing from their own journeys, the panelists shared stories about the various career paths available to them and expressed the importance of making the right decisions both personally and academically.
The panelists coming back to pay it forward demonstrates how deeply rooted the IkamvaYouth values were instilled in them as learners. Seeing and hearing first-hand the positive impact of the programme on the alumni was inspiring to the young learners. It encourages them to work hard because they see that their dreams are valid, and possible to achieve.
As we approach the 19 years of impact, we celebrate the programme’s success, as we see the many young learners who have been part of the programme go on to have successful careers. What we know, after two decades of implementing our programme, is that the programme’s alumni are the secret sauce to motivating young learners in the programme. They are ideal role models who are largely from the same communities where they are tutoring. They know what it takes to defy the odds of their circumstances and are an inspiration and proof of what’s possible. Through positive peer motivation, IkamvaYouth communities shift the norms, ensuring learners achieve excellence.
By: Yanga Totyi, Atlantis Branch Coordinator
As we begin the year, celebrating our stellar 2021 matric results, and reflecting on the Atlantis Brach journey since its inception, I am drawn to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Tedtalk: “The Danger of a Single Story”.
In this talk, Chimamanda narrates a story about her upbringing and the single narrative she had built around her parents’ employee. The single-story was that of poverty and helplessness. This was shattered when they visited his village. Through this story, told at TED, Chimamanda, encourages us to recognize the importance of telling stories, to add voice to the narratives that exist about a situation, or a place. By adding our voice, we shatter single narratives about a place. We humanise and empower.
Atlantis, located 65km outside of Cape Town, was established by the apartheid government in the early 1970s as an industrial community for the coloured population of Cape Town. Atlantis has been branded as a community rampant with drug use, and crime. IkamvaYouth established a branch in this community in 2017, against the backdrop of a single narrative. We have been running our after-school tutoring programme supporting young people to ensure that they pass matric, and access post-school opportunities. While the many economic challenges are real, our experience in the community has, again and again, shuttered the single narrative.
Since the branch’s inception, we have worked with a community of stakeholders, who have all risen up to ensure we produce the best educational outcomes for young people in high school. Our main feeder schools such as Robinvale High School and Proteus Technical High school have been instrumental in making sure we overcome any hurdles. It has been inspiring for us, to witness the school governing bodies, senior management teams and passionate teachers dedicate their time and resources, committing themselves to make an impact in the lives of Atlantis learners.
Our partners, GrandSlots, Green Cape and the Atlantis SEZ have funded the programme, and Direct Axis has facilitated our mentorship, career guidance, life skills, and leadership programmes. The mentors particularly have been a constant source of support, spurring the young ones on and playing their part in retelling the story of Atlantis through the successes of these young people.
Our after-school tutoring programme is facilitated by volunteers. Young people from the community show up to the branch to assist young learners with their homework and learning gaps. Here is one of our volunteers’ words: “Some of us were the first to pass and access tertiary education 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”.
The combined efforts of tutors, mentors, teachers, school staff and parents have seen the branch produce stellar matric results year on year. Each year our results have improved from 64% in 2018, 79% in 2019, 98% in 2020.
Five years after the branch’s inception, the matric class of 2021 yet again dismantled the single narrative about young people from Atlantis by achieving a record-breaking 100% matric pass rate. In addition, 67% of the 2021 cohort achieved a bachelor pass, 23% achieved a diploma pass, meaning that 90% of learners are eligible for tertiary institutions. In a community where not many are able to pass matric, we are proud of the collaborative effort to ensure that learners access tertiary education, and are set on a path to a dignified living. We are extremely proud of each and every learner that has gone through our programme.
The danger of a single story about Atlantis could easily blind us from all the passion, the effort that these young people themselves put in to ensure they add to the story of success in Atlantis. Our CEO Hope Chidawanyika says: “The learners in our programme work extremely hard and every day they teach us all something new about what people can accomplish if they’re just given the opportunity and the support they need to reach their goals”.
Kgahlisang Pilo, adamant about changing people’s perception of the youth of Atlantis – who are often labelled as drug and alcohol abusers and consummate troublemakers, had the following to say about his IkamvaYouth journey,
“After failing grade 11 in 2019, seeing my peers go on to the next grade, I knew that I had to change something. With the help of IkamvaYouth, I changed for the better and focused more on passing and making it to matric. I gained new friends, I kept pushing and pushing and when I got my matric results…IT WAS SUCH A RELIEF! I finally made it and I would like to thank IkamvaYouth, the mentors and the funders for giving me the help I needed. I will never forget all that has been done for me! It has been such a bumpy ride.”
A big thank you to the IkamvaYouth team, for helping to weave this story, and bringing all stakeholders invested in the young people in our programme, to ensure we continue to tell a nuanced narrative of Atlantis. Atlantis branch staff and volunteers