The Year Beyond programme has just had its very first successful winter school for 300 learners run by a group of 36 highly motivated volunteers. Winter school is a way of introducing our young learners 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.
Our winter schools were held at Phoenix, Manyano, ID Mkhize, and Oval North High Schools. We were hosted with warmth and the learners thoroughly enjoyed the experience. With the learners having never been to an established winter school programme, the experience unlocked their eyes and minds to a new sphere of possibilities.
Winter Schools are not like the daily routine of a normal school day, instead it’s about intensive tutoring and different workshops focussed on equipping the students with a sense of independence as well as ensuring that they leave with the confidence and understanding in mind, knowing that it starts with self. The activities and workshops were aligned with the intention of developing our learner’s leadership skills, level of awareness, valuing self and importantly raising awareness of the social issues affecting youth and the preventative actions that are available to them.
The core component of Year Beyond winter school is the academic content. Learners received 2 hour intensive tutoring sessions with a variety of tutoring resources including; past papers, mock exams and Answer Series study guides, English (Fundza) and Math (Olico) Fundamentals.
In addition to the academic emphasis, the winter school provided an opportunity for a number of workshops around themes relating to general life-skills, HIV/Aids awareness, filmmaking and personal presentation skills. Learners were also exposed to information helpful to choosing subjects when they start grade 10.
The varied workshops included; Peers in Sexual Health running workshops about teenage pregnancy / STIs/ HIV information and training through experiential games and role plays; UCT Health Faculty who ran TB awareness and movie screening for health awareness; a workshop from Live Magazine on how to build a newsletter and magazine, while Rae Human and partners gave a presentation from the Film and Publication Board covering topics like cyber safety, the film industry and the Board as national regulator that were geared towards enlightening learners to the dangers of the media landscape. Students filmed their own short documentary through crash courses in sound, lighting and directing. UCT Humanities Faculty ran subject choice workshops and requirements to access post school institutions, and many learners went on an excursion to the Jewish Museum which aimed to create an understanding, gain knowledge and an appreciation of religious and cultural diversity within our society, and to respect the dignity, rights and values of people from different religions and cultures.
Combination of Schools
As the old adage goes; two hands are better than one and combining two schools per cluster was the winning idea. Manyano high school combined with Intlanganiso high school at Manyano and Tafelsig combined with Oval North at Oval North High. Additionally, Phoenix combined with Heideveld at Phoenix and ID Mkhize combined with Leiden high at ID Mkhize high school. At this point it’s where we could see the excitement on learners’ face when they were introduced to their peers from different schools. Peer to peer support was the tool that was used by tutors to ensure learners supported one another, but also in building a culture of hard work and being responsible to and for each other.
A huge thanks to all the workshop facilitators, tutors and learners – Your passion, commitment, excitement and leadership shown over this time has started to set a precedent in the schools, instilling a culture of hard work and belief in the possibility of a bright and beautiful future!
In January, along with hi-fives and star jumps, the ikamvanites were proud to announce an 82% pass for the class of 2014. Now, after finally gathering in the results for those writing supplementary exams, we’re thrilled to announce an overall 84% pass, with 85% eligible for tertiary institutions (50% bachelor and 34% diploma).
However, while a matric pass is difficult to obtain (especially for those attending schools where more than half of learners drop out before reaching matric), it is just the first of many hurdles that need to be cleared in the race towards a career that can catapult a family out of poverty.
Research has shown (Van der Berg & Broekhuizen, 2013) that unemployment for those with less than 12 years of schooling is 42%, while for matriculants it’s 29%. Those with non-degree tertiary education have an unemployment level of about 16%, while for people with a degree, unemployment is under 5%. The numbers of youth not in education, employment or training (NEETs) have increased over the last few years and currently sit at almost 34% of 15 – 24-year-olds in South Africa.
IkamvaYouth is thrilled to report that 85% of the 2014 matrics ARE in education, employment, or training (and not NEETs). Of the 244 learners who wrote matric in 2014:
49% are in tertiary institutions (30% at university and 19% at colleges)
18% have learnerships or jobs
18% are working to upgrade their matric results
These results are remarkable, especially given the norms and expectations of township youth. Beauty Komone , who attended the Ivory Park branch, says “I grew up in a disadvantaged family of seven where none of my three siblings (who are out of high school) have managed to get into tertiary. Tutoring and other programmes that are run by IkamvaYouth have boosted my performance and the way I perceive life. I am now at University studying information technology (IT)!”
Ikamvanites have chosen to study towards careers that will advance the country’s development. Of those enrolled in tertiary institutions (112 learners), 12% are studying engineering, 14% are studying IT, 18% are studying health sciences, and 34% are studying finance, business or entrepreneurship. We’re encouraged to see that 6% are studying education; our hope is for many more ikamvanites to build their careers by transforming South Africa’s education system.
Katlego Octivious is studying architecture, and Boitumelo Mahladisa is training to become a policeman and keep his community safe. We are particularly proud of Tiyiselani Mpangane, who was really struggling with her academics when she joined the Ebony Park branch in grade 10. After joining IkamvaYouth, her results have shot up remarkably; she achieved 6 distinctions for matric, and is studying actuarial science at UCT.
Most heartwarming and encouraging of all, 65% of the class of 2014 has indicated that they’ll be returning to volunteer as tutors at IkamvaYouth. They will ensure that the next cohorts of learners reach similar heights; and propel the virtuous cycle of ikamvanites paying-it-forward, pulling themselves and each other out of poverty.
We need your help to make the circle bigger: Get involved as a volunteer, or donate!
The year 2015 has already started with an exciting new twist as the Ebony Park mentoring programme got a huge boost by partnering with Coaches and Mentors South Africa (COMENSA). This very valuable partnership will help to answer a lot of questions we have had on how a mentoring programme should be structured for it to be a success. COMENSA, a national organisation with which all professional coaches and mentors are supposed to register with, brings with them a wealth of knowledge, experience and hope that mentoring programmes at IkamvaYouth will get more recognition especially if the mentors recruited for this task are certified and accredited to carry out the process with the learners.
On the 28th of February, Ebony Park branch launched its mentoring programme for the year and welcomed mentors from COMENSA together with Andre Retief, a COMENSA facilitator and project coodinator who conducted an orientation workshop to explain the intentions of the programme and the way it was going to run throughout the year. At the end of the workshop learners were paired with their new mentors.
Andre Retief expressed his satisfaction with the proceedings of the day and was excited to be able to assist our eager learners. He expressed that this year would be a pilot and if COMENSA management is happy with the progress they would be more than willing to extend this assistance to the other branches, starting with the Ivory Park branch next year.
This is the first of many exciting things happening at the Ebony Park branch.
It’s not often that our volunteer tutors get the opportunity to attend skills workshops that have been arranged exclusively for them. The Shell Volunteer Day, on the 4th of March 2015, was therefore a much appreciated occasion, where employees from the company took time out from their day, to spend with our Ikamvanites, sharing vital skills for entering the job market. This event was organized and made possible by the Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa (CAF SA). During the workshop, facilitated by Nandi Ngubeni from CAF SA, Ikamvanites gained important knowledge about how to write CVs and cover letters, how to conduct oneself in an interview, and basic professionalism tips such as telephone etiquette.
Here’s what some of them had to say about the experience:
“Thank you very much for a great educational fun filled morning guys. I really enjoyed being around you, learning about you and what you do and hearing different views of the world at work really enjoyed the company and the advice of my team Prudence ,Snazo, and Shakira had lots of fun. I learnt a lot as well and got some tips too. I received good feedback and constructive criticism which will help me when I write my cover letter and CV. I loved the mock interview the most as it kept me on my toes and I got to expand the knowledge I already know. Thank you for taking time out of your busy days to come I received a great deal of motivation.”
“Firstly, I would like to appreciate Shell for the workshop we benefited a lot,we have learnt the tips of how to apply using emails, Sunday Times, employment agencies and how to write a cv and cover letter. And what is expected of us when we go to an interview. They also did mock-interviews with us practically, and learnt that when I am at the interview, I must get straight to the point, and to be myself.”
“I would like to send a special Thank You to the CAF and SHELL people for uniting and spending some quality time with us. I appreciated each and every moment, we had fun with those 30 second cards, i learned a lot especially on how to to a Cover Letter, (An Enormous THANK YOU to the kind and beautiful lady who was helping me with it). Thanks to the IKAMVA YOUTH for having me, Thanks to the lady who organised and Thanks to everyone who made yesterday special.”
“To the CAF and SHELL thank you very much 4 such amazing thing u did for me, I never thought of the importance of a covering letter before. Today I have a better understanding of the important of covering letter and a CV. Guys what you did for me is good, keep it up and pass it to other because a lot of people lose their dream jobs because of the covering letter. To you all of the people from CAF and SHELL I THANK YOU N I SALUTE YOU”
It wasn’t just important skills that were shared on this day, Shell also donated some much needed stationery and learning materials to the Chesterville branch! I would like to take this opportunity to thank CAF SA and Shell for the generous support. It really is through partnerships with dedicated, like-minded organisations and companies that we can make Vision 2030 a reality.
Some say that the beginning of the year is always daunting, whether you’re starting a new academic year, or even meeting new people. Well our matric class of 2015 begs to differ. Saturday, 24th January, our bright stars were at the branch bright and early, eagerly waiting to meet the people they aspire to be like one day, their mentors.
In asking one of the learners on their expectations of the day, Yamkela Fobosi said, “I am very excited to meet a person who has already accomplished the things I want to accomplish. I cannot wait for him to tell me all the things that I must do in order to achieve my dreams!”
Mentor Day kicked off with a welcoming from Zukile Keswa, the Branch Coordinator. In attendance were over 20 mentors, ranging from UCT students to working professionals. Tamara Stelma, the Mentorship Coordinator from UCT, introduced the programme to everyone and shared the schedule for the day. The mentors and mentees were paired according to the results of a questionnaire the mentees and mentors completed prior to the event. During the one on one session they signed a commitment agreement contract that stipulated the number of hours that they had to be in contact with each other. From the library, to the lab, to the office you could see the mentors and mentees engaged in conversation getting well acquainted and creating a timeline for the year. One mentor said that the day was productive and a great way of networking with other great minds (mentors) and is looking forward to the rest of the year, coaching and inspiring this exciting bunch.
The day concluded with a discussion with the Grade 12s led by Busiswa Dayimani, the Branch Assistant, on the prospects for the year. What is expected of them, what they should expect from the year and what steps to take from now onwards. “There is still quite a lot of work to be done but if we put in the necessary work we are destined for success…” Busi said to the learners as they attentively listened. Energies are high, expectations are high, and we cannot wait to see what this year holds for the matric class of 2015.
With this well integrated support structure, the sky is the limit for these young stars.
Dear IkamvaYouth’s incredible tutors and mentors,
You are the key to IkamvaYouth’s success; you embody the spirit of IkamvaYouth and have proven that volunteerism is in fact sustainable and scalable.
Thank you for your inspiring dedication and for being a tremendous example to our learners, and the country at large.
Without you we would not be able to help as many learners as we do. We hugely appreciate the sacrifices you make when you give up your time to tutor, mentor or to help us in other ways.
We want to thank you with this message as our personal round of applause. The credit for our work rests with our dedicated volunteers:
It is you who inspire and enable our learners to achieve these amazing results. You guys are also our BIGGEST benefactors.
We hope to see you continue to lift as you rise and wish you all the very best in everything that you do.