Grade 5 learners from different schools in Lwandle were encouraged to become actively involved in their communities to build a better future for themselves.They were also equipped to be well informed when applying for scholarships and bursaries to further their studies at better resourced schools.This was an initiative held at Nomzamo Community Hall last Wednesday 28 November and made possible by Sweet Pea Youth Development, a non-profit company providing educational and youth development programmes in underserved areas of the Helderberg. The event was attended by a select group of learners and their parents. The programme is designed for learners who achieve an academic average of 70% and more for future leadership, bursary and entrepreneurship opportunities.Nomonde Kondile, founder of Sweet Pea Youth Development, said the programme helps learners to also understand the importance of community involvement in their areas. She added that it does not only assist and equip them with the tools to apply for bursaries, but also makes them well-rounded human beings who understand their surroundings.“We also want to ignite an entrepreneurial mindset from within them while they are still young,” Kondile related. “During the programme we also encourage academic excellence, which would allow them to be better professionals in the future. We want to make academic excellence their habit, but not only to get a bursary.”Kondile was impressed by the learners’ enthusiasm, appreciation and participation during the sessions. “We felt good after the programme had run its course. This is a journey we will walk with the learners going forward. The learners’ chances of receiving bursaries which they apply for, are really good,” she said.Next year facilitators of Sweet Pea Youth Development will also aid the learners in completing bursary applications, while extra English lessons will also be hosted.At last week’s event, representatives of various stakeholders were also present. The stakeholders include the City of Cape Town’s social development department, gender-based NPO Khuseleka and Global Vision International.Nomahlubi Zali of the Department of Social Development addressed the learners and told them of the importance of keeping a clean criminal record not to harm their futures. She also encouraged them to stay away from alcohol, which has negative effects on people’s health and lives.“To have a better future, please stay away from crime. When you commit crime and have a criminal record, your chances of finding employment are slim. So rather stay clean as any mistake could jeopardise your future,” Zali implored. She further sent a strong message to parents to always keep an eye on their children and be aware of the people with whom they spend time.