Student helps local youth

2017-06-20 06:01
Claremont-based student from California Jennifer Binley enjoys helping locals.

Claremont-based student from California Jennifer Binley enjoys helping locals.

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A Claremont-based student from California, United States is encouraging local youth to take a step towards improving their lives.

Jennifer Binley is currently studying for a Master’s degree in International Relations at UCT and is being hosted by the Rotary Club of Claremont. She arrived in South Africa in February last year.

She says Cape Town is full of opportunities and organisations that are willing to help and the youngsters need to take advantage of them. Binley says in less than two years in Cape Town she saw a need to motivate youth to make it easier for them to tackle social issues faced by the less fortunate in disadvantaged areas.

As part of her scholarship, Binley says she has been involved in community work that has shifted her mind and shown her the challenges that still need to be addressed in disadvantaged areas.

She says: “I have worked for a local NGO in Khayelitsha, performing research on community enhancement and the impact of alcohol in neighbourhoods. I am currently conducting an evaluation of the impact of a social development fund on low-income areas around Cape Town,” explains Binley.

“I am extremely proud of the local Rotary club, however, for constantly aiding disadvantaged or low-income areas and attempting to rectify such discrepancies. As a student pursuing a career in development, these are exactly the issues I like to become familiar with in an effort to combat poverty. I’ve enjoyed talking about the social and economic problems faced by city residents, and have greatly enjoyed learning about the drastically different local communities.”

She says young adults nearing graduation who will be entering the real world must be aware that it can be difficult and intimidating to find themselves and they must seek advice and be willing to start low and grow their experience.

“I have learned so much by asking for help and talking to those with more life experience. There are plenty of organisations and charity groups in the area that are filled with people ready to offer their knowledge.

“Take a chance and email or call for opportunities, even if it is just volunteer work, and it will help you find out more about what you like and where you want to go,” she says.

The local Rotary club’s youth service director, John Jacobs, says global grant scholars are selected to study in a country they have never been to before. There they are expected to join in the projects of the local Rotary club and network widely with a variety of people.

“Jennifer has brought a fresh new perspective to our club as well as unique graduate-level skills which she has already put to good use in her short time here.”

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