It is said Education is Critical for Success however when you come from a background of abject poverty these are only words of nicety and not inspiration.
G.A.E.E.E. I.N. works with young people from Manenberg and surrounding areas (Guguletu, Tambo Village, Heideveld, Hanover Park, Semora Michal etc) who wants to excel in life however are faced with many challenges that limit their opportunities for greatness. In many of the townships crime, poverty, teenage pregnancies, peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse, gangsterism, hunger etc are rife making daily life unbearable. The low self-esteem and daily struggle makes many young people easy targets for the gangs’ recruitment to carry out their power struggles with the other rival gangs who have the same or similar purpose gaining territory and membership.
In 2013 G.A.E.E.E. I.N. started working with plus/minus 40 young people from a high school in Manenberg and since then moved to a Community Centre where our skills programmes are being offered to all young people in the larger community. One of G.A.E.E.E. I.N.’s philosophies is not to “touch and go” but rather to “touch and stay” by mentoring and coaching young people to complete high school, by get obtaining good grades to be accepted at university or college of their choice and then find employment.
The skills programme offered were designed for the youth ,schools and institutions focusing on important aspects in young people’s lives namely Morals Training, Moral Leadership, Embracing Adolescents and its Challenges, Sharpen Your Network, Sourcing and Securing your Parachute, Current Affairs Beyond High School, Youth Programme etc . These skills programmes provide a detailed theoretical and practical approach. It allows the delegates to experiment by working through numerous exercises. These skills programme were designed utilising different learning and technological methods to captivate the delegate’s interaction and scaffolded the learning.
Doing introspection and reflection many of these young people were at first sceptical of about NPO and the programmes offered as they had other important interests more worthy of their time. Some ran away however with continuous persistence and winning their trust they started embracing our skills programmes/ initiatives. We can personally say these young people are diamonds in the rough; all they need is an organisation or person who believes in their potential and acknowledged their value. Many of them have the fear of being swallowed into a bottomless pit of the township. They are so desperate to find the opportunities so that they can be the catalyst in their own families to rise above their current situation and make a positive change. Our experiences over the last four years are, many of the young people we work with have endless potential. All they want is to succeed by making a positive difference in their own lives and that of their families.
Another of G.A.E.E.E. I.N.’s philosophies is to teach every young person enrolled on our programmes to fish for their own success and letting them understand that the buck starts and stops with them (fish rots from the head). They need to be diligent and smart to obtain good school grades for university or college acceptance to further their studies beyond high school. G.A.E.E.E. I.N. first bursary assistance programme “Sourcing and Securing your Parachute “was piloted in 2015 and run again in 2016. We can proudly say we have first and second year university and college students who are coming back and motivating other young people in their communities to excel so that they too can make a difference to their own lives that of the immediate family and the community.
G.A.E.E.E. I.N. is proud knowing the time invested in the young people attending our programmes have being worth all the effort. Just seeing these very young people blossom and flourish into the fruits of determination, commitment and success. We understand the saying it takes a village to raise a child. G.A.E.E.E. I.N. believes it takes the determination of every citizen to believe in the potential of every young person especially those from the disadvantaged communities. It is priceless seeing overtime their increased confidence levels and determination to excel in life. Reflecting in 2013 many of these young people initially dodged the programmes because of the fear of the unknown and lack of confidence. They are now able to compete on many platforms and make the smooth transition from high school to university or college. G.A.E.E.E. I.N. stays in contact with all our current first and second year university and college students to provide them with the necessary support.
Many people understand the importance of education to progress in life “knowledge is power” however how attainable is it for young people from disadvantaged communities? Positive Roles are limited and how many of them are willing to hang? Continuous motivation and inspiration is required to make young people believe in their own abilities and potential. So we should not be surprised if some young people from abject poverty backgrounds distant themselves from education as have more important goals to achieve by battling to place food on the table to survive. Some may think education is for others and not for them because they are not worthy of excelling in life.
G.A.E.E.E. I.N.’s has learnt over the last four years while working with young people that they require continuous encouragement and support hence we apply our the “touch and stay” philosophy to see our diamonds in the ruff flourish into sustainable successful young adults.