Youths true agents for change

2015-06-10 06:00

THE dream to be agents for change of eight youths from Kutlwanong is taking shape.

The energetic youths from the township of Odendaalsrus in the Free State’s Goldfields region have a common goal to revive the spirit of self-empowerment among the youths in their immediate community.

They have organised themselves to establish an entity known as the Dream Team through which they hope to achieve the dream of bringing a desired change within their society.

The eight team members are Azizipho Ntsenge (marketing officer), Kenneth Ngake (events and public relations officer), Thato Morapeli (administrative officer), Thabo Ramohlo­koane (community projects officer), Khauhelo Maruping (programme coordinator), Aaron Tjiwa (community projects officer), Patricia Leeba (finance officer) and Itumeleng Maruping (programme facilitator).

They have laid a solid foundation towards the fruition of the common dream by enrolling for a basic course in community development and leadership at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

They successfully completed the course and received a higher certificate in community development and leadership NQF level 5 at the graduation ceremony held in April.

They were deemed competent as community development and leadership practitioners.

The course covered both theory and practical aspects to ensure implementation of the programme by the graduates.

The programme ran from February to November with the eight members attending part-time classes at UJ.

“The programme focused on community development combined with business leadership, which not only offers an opportunity to equip management structures on all levels, but will also empower community leaders who are already working in the field,” said Maruping.

He said their studies were made possible through financial support by the private and public sectors, UJ, the Department of Social Work through the office of the director, Prof. Hanna Nel, the Matjhabeng Local Municipality’s municipal manager and the Goldfields Casino.

“The programme is fundamental in terms of enabling us to implement life-changing programmes in our very own community and influence youth to seek and seize opportunities to change their lives,” he said.

According to Ngake the programme was made to fit within the current socio-economic state.

“We are all skilled and have different expertise and we hope to cover the different aspects which pose a challenge to the youth and help them empower themselves to become better citizens and to create a sustainable lifestyle.

“Our mission is to apply the asset-based and people-centered approach towards the development of our communities.

“Because some of us are already equipped, the scope of focus will be on involving the community in the initiation of self-sustainable community projects which are best in ensuring the success and achieving the common goal of empowering the community,” said Ngake.

The eight members formed the entity in 2014 upon identifying that there was a lack of a mechanism to drive community-based empowerment programmes and training in entrepreneurship.

These young people were already participating in community development through their organisations, namely the Bokamoso Information Centre and the Youth Entrepreneurship Parliament which are registered in terms of the Non-Profit Organisations Act, Act 71 of 1997

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