Their dreams become action

2015-09-01 06:00
Suleila Dreyer (17) from Lotus River and Simphiwe Silwana (19) from Gugulethu are students of the Salesians Life Choices youth development programme. The two have big dreams and intend to rise above their circumstances. 

Chevon Booysen

Suleila Dreyer (17) from Lotus River and Simphiwe Silwana (19) from Gugulethu are students of the Salesians Life Choices youth development programme. The two have big dreams and intend to rise above their circumstances. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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Two inspirational pupils from Klipfontein are on a mission to inspire others across the board.

Suleila Dreyer (17), a pupil at Zeekoevlei High School in Lotus River, and Simphiwe Silwana (19), a pupil at Belgravia High School, joined the NGO Salesians Life Choices and say they want to change the lives of their peers in the same way theirs changed.

Salesians Life Choices is a youth development programme facilitated in the Klipfontein district.

Dreyer, who also lives in Lotus River, excels in rowing and at her young age is a gold medallist.

“I started the sport when I was in Grade 8 after a teacher came around to our class asking who wanted to be a part of the rowing activity. I always saw rowing as a sport being practised in more affluent areas and just took the chance to do it,” Dreyer says.

She won her first bronze medal at the age of 13. She never looked back since joining.

“I am a very active person and always knew I wanted to take part in some sport and although school athletics was an option, this was not a sport practised throughout the year,” she adds.

Dreyer says as part of the youth development project she found she could motivate her peers as well and implement her life lessons in her rowing.

She says her experience so far has taught her a lot about herself and she has now carried this through to her daily life.

“Even when I’m at school I find that the lessons I’m taught at Life Choices I will take that back to my peers. Especially when we’re interacting at school I will stop a peer if they interrupt another while they’re telling a story. At Life Choices we are mentored in a manner where you give the other person time to complete what they’re saying without butting in. This has also made me a good listener,’ she adds.

Dreyer says while being mentored at Life Choices she has put her future dreams into action instead of just leaving it at a dream.

“We are all equipped to achieve our dreams and goals and it is within reach. It’s like having all the ingredients for a cake in front of you but you’re too lazy to make it. But if you really want the cake you will take the time and actually make it. It’s the same in life; you have all you need in front of you. You just have to make use of it so you can reap the fruits after,” she says.

Dreyer says she wants to study to become a chartered accountant.

Silwana, a matric pupil, says the turning point in his life came when, as a top achiever at school, he failed Grade 10.

“At that point in my life I had already dealt with a lot. I was raised by my grandparents from the age of one. My mother was never around and eventually, when I was 13, she was imprisoned for drug smuggling,” Silwana recalls.

Silwana, an only child from Gugulethu, says although his mother was never around, he longed for her the most while she was imprisoned.

“I would cry for days on end and I was an emotional wreck but I felt like I needed to feel that pain so I don’t ever have to feel that way again. Failing a grade and dealing with challenges in my life moulded me to what I am now,” he says.

Silwana currently also serves on the board for Salesian Life Choices and echoes that the organisation made him see what he wanted out of life.

“I had to grow up quickly after dealing with my stresses and that was all I needed to realise I do not ever want to feel that weak again. I became a changed person and even though I failed a grade I realised that I wasn’t a failure; instead it was my lesson,” he says.

Silwana is head boy at his school and adds his relationship with his mother has improved and now he wants to give back to his family for supporting him.

“People always laugh at me when I say this but when asked what I want to be I say I want to be the president of South Africa. But I want to be a servant leader and I know I can take the country where it should be,” he says.

Silwana has been accepted to study Constitutional Law at the University of the Western Cape.

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