School wins citizen award

2016-09-28 06:00
FROM the left are Jenna Fultcher (Mounties), Amanda Blankfield-Koseff (founder and CEO of Empower-vate Trust), Nelisiwe Nhlapho, Makgotso Mokomotoane, Refilwe Mahlaba, Thabo Moloi (the winning team’s teacher), Mphakiseng Maleka and Anele Zwane during the presentation of prizes to the Lerato-Uthando Comprehensive Secondary School.

FROM the left are Jenna Fultcher (Mounties), Amanda Blankfield-Koseff (founder and CEO of Empower-vate Trust), Nelisiwe Nhlapho, Makgotso Mokomotoane, Refilwe Mahlaba, Thabo Moloi (the winning team’s teacher), Mphakiseng Maleka and Anele Zwane during the presentation of prizes to the Lerato-Uthando Comprehensive Secondary School.

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HARRISMITH. Z Thanks to an upliftment project implemented by their school mates, 12 girls of a Free State school have been enabled to continue their studies.

The girls had dropped out of school because they had fallen behind their peers due to having been forced to miss classes one week every month.

For their efforts in implementing the project the learners at the Lerato-Uthando Comprehensive Secondary School near Harrismith were honoured.

They were named as the national secondary school champions for 2016 of the Youth Citizens Action Programme (Y-CAP). They received prizes valued at R10 000 from the Y-CAP sponsors.

Y-CAP was initiated by a local non-governmental organisation, Empowervate Trust, seven years ago.

The national competition is run in collaboration with all nine provincial Departments of Education.

Every year, learners are provided with Y-CAP toolkits from Empowervate that show them how to identify social, environmental and academic challenges in their schools and communities.

They follow the step-by-step guide to find creative and innovative solutions to address these challenges. They then implement the solution and analyse the impact they make, as well as their own personal development through the skills they develop as active citizens.

The Lerato-Uthando School tackled an issue that has long plagued girls in disadvantaged communities: a lack of access to sanitary pads which results in girls staying home from school during their monthly menstruation.

The Y-CAP team not only identified the issue, but formulated a plan to obtain donations of sanitary pads. As a result, in addition to the 12 girls who have already returned to school, more have registered to return in the new year.

During Youth Month and Mandela Month, Y-CAP provincial showcase events took place throughout the country where 400 schools, represented by 4 000 learners, competed for their provincial Y-CAP title. Eighteen high school and primary school teams from each province, whose projects were deemed most impactful and sustainable, presented their social and academic impact projects at the Seventh Annual Y-CAP National Championships.

It took place during the weekend of 22 to 24 July at the Fair City Roodevallei Hotel in Pretoria East.

At the Kick-Start prize-giving event held in Pretoria this month, the top three primary and high school teams of learners presented updates on what had transpired since winning the competition.

They committed themselves to sustaining the programme in their school for years to come.

Y-CAP’s core sponsors are Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation, which have been involved with the programme since its inception in 2009, and DSV Mounties, who joined as partners in 2014 and will expand their involvement in the future.

SA Airlink and Europcar provide in-kind donations for district, provincial and national workshops and showcase events. The University of South Africa (Unisa) is the pro bono research partner, and Heartlines provides support and materials.

“Together, we are encouraging learners to be proactive, not to wait for change, but to be the change they want to see,” said Empowervate Trust founder and CEO, Amanda Blankfield-Koseff.

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