Volunteer Mzansi AFRIKA is a BEE social entrepreneurship volunteer and travel company that provides holistic programmes that positively affects and impacts on the lives of volunteers and improves the sustainability of projects with the ultimate aim of benefiting communities. 

Why I AM…ICH BIEN INITIATIVE?

It really saddens my heart to see the difficult social issues that most of the youth from communities such as mine in Ocean View in the Scenic South face. I wanted to initiate a project that encouraged and installed the value that “hard works pays” and motivate children and parents alike to dream BIG.

The initial idea of the initiative was to make a difference in the life of a student (Grade 4) that is still young and starry eyed about his or her future.  A student in his or her foundation phase of their schooling career and in the foundation phase of forming their individual character. The intention is to get them inspired whilst they are still young and instil the value: hard work pays!

Thus, the point of the project is very simple. HARD WORK PAYS!!!!If you are prepared to work hard, doors will open. You do not have to be the smartest child to get far in life. You just have to be prepared to work hard.

In my view, I think that people from my community has forgotten this VALUE.  When one of the German volunteers finished his volunteer programme and wanted to give his clothes away, I told him what I was planning with regard to the initiative and we both then decided that we would get somebody to sell the clothes to the community at an affordable price for people within the community. The proceeds of the sale would then be used to support a child’s school fees for a year.

An opportunity availed itself to talk to two social entrepreneurs (Marion Le Fleur- owner of Blue Cherry Marketing &PR Creations and Denise Nordquist owner of Dandilion Mobility Solutions) and to the management of EDGARS Long Beach Mall  about the initiative. They were so interested that they too wanted to be part of the initiative. The result was that we were able to pay and support 6 students.

Why the name I AM…ICH BIN…?

The student winning the bursary would know why he or she won.  They won because they worked hard and now their parents do not have to worry about paying their school fees.

The idea is to state that I AM … (who I will be one day is up to me)

ICH BIN…breaking limited thinking – the world is my oyster.

The requirements for suitable candidates were:

Grade 3 and 4 teachers selected the students but the final selection process was up to us -the 3 social entrepreneurs.  We had the names of 6   hard working students that already proved themselves in Grade 3 and now in Grade 4 they were still working hard.

The students were not necessarily the cleverest but the ones who continually tried their best and always strived to improve and who continued working hard in the first semester of grade 4.

 1st part of the selection phase:

We met with the students and chatted with them as well as checked their report cards before we made the selection decision.  As it was important for us to ensure that all selected students were acknowledged for their hard work, we divided the money received.  We were able to divide it into a 1st prize, 2nd prize, 3rd prize, 4th prize etc. All the prize money went directly to pay the school fees and the children were awarded with certificates in a school ceremony where we explained to all the students what the initiative was about and hopefully motivated them to also work hard.  Again, I should mention that the awards were given to the hard working students and not necessarily the “cleverest” ones.

2nd part of the selection process:

We discussed with the teachers the extent to which the parents were involved in the child’s education. The parent(s) should have been actively involved within the children’s schooling career. Attended school meetings and basically shown interest and assisted with homework. The idea is to encourage parents to become involved and participate in their children’s schooling career.

THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE INITIATIVE:

The plan is to support the students not necessarily financially, although we will be paying their school fees until they finish Grade 12 but we would also like to provide the platform for them to see the opportunities that life has for them. For example, this weekend they have been invited to attend a show at the ARTSCAPE. For all of them, this would be the first time that they are attending the theatre. They have already mentioned what their dream jobs are so we would like them to “volunteer” an hour within the profession that they would like to work in one day, giving them a taste that their dreams are accessible.

For us it is really important that we support them so that they see the benefits of making the right decisions and working hard and then ultimately be the leaders to LEADSA.

The photo was taken after we took the kids out on their 2nd outing to the Masque Theatre. We travelled via train to False Bay station and walked to the Masque Theatre, lessening our carbon footprints. Afterwards we walked to Muizenberg beach for a picnic, then along the boardwalk from Muizenberg to St James. We caught the train back to Fish Hoek where one of the girls wanted to show us her favourite pet shops. She wants to become a vet when she grows up.

 

You will see that there are 7 children in the picture. We kind of adopted the extra girl into the initiative!

Written and compiled by : Chantel Daniels

Volunteer Mzansi AFRIKA –Programme Manager ( South AFRICA)

Main Road, Fish Hoek Cell: +27(0)83 591 5574 /+27(0)78 233 1702