IofC South African Youth emboldened with new ideas
Seventeen young people participated in an Initiatives of Change camp that took place in the idyllic town of Heidelberg in the Gauteng Province of South Africa from 5 to 10 December. The theme of this fourth annual IofC camp was ‘Change in Progress’ and was spearheaded by three mentors, including a representative from Initiatives of Change, Zimbabwe. The camp sought to inspire a committed network of youth to make positive changes in their behaviours, relationships, and communities.
The camp was a revelatory and intense programme that encouraged the young participants to put their newly acquired skills to practice in their own communities of Soweto and Noordgesig. The aim of the activities was to equip the camp members with practical and inner skills to lead moral and visionary-based lifestyles along with creating a connected group of empowered citizens.
The camp offered a myriad of self-aware and collaborative activities. Activities that included sessions on leadership and entrepreneurship, story-sharing, nature walks, and time set aside for personal reflection.
The participants flourished during the camp and had undergone much personal growth by the camp’s graduation ceremony on 15 December. Many participants, who were reticent and taciturn at the beginning, were imbued with newfound levels of self-confidence and were able to speak free of inhibition and deliver speeches with aplomb.
Outreach in the communities was conducted in partnership with two NGOs. ‘Adopt a Grandmother’ is a programme that bolsters intergenerational dialogues between the young and the elderly on a wealth of social issues. And the ‘Tokologo Centre’ which provides support for children afflicted with HIV. With the skills gained during the camp, the youth participants were able to successfully plan, coordinate, and facilitate these sessions. The participants also put together an action plan that included collecting clothes for deprived families, visiting elders, and fundraising for an orphanage.
The commencement ceremony featured distinguished South African changemaker Dr Lillian Cingo (left), founder and retired manager of the Phelophepa Health Train. Dr Cingo spoke of the importance of vision, determination, and passion for the future. ‘I knew God had a plan for me. I went from walking miles to school to years later being awarded by the Queen of England for being a top neurosurgeon. So never give up.’
Report by Cleo Mohlaodi, Portia Mosia and Talia Smith
Photos by Cleo Mohlaodi