There is so much to write about that I cannot seem to write about anything. I just want to be able to share my whole experience and have you see and feel all the amazing moments I’ve had while being in South Africa …but I can’t. I mean, I can easily show videos and photos of some of these moments, but in order to understand what it really feels like to be surrounded by selfless children; children who care for you and appreciate your attention, it is only your presence that will allow you that experience.
As you know, I am currently working as a Social Worker/ Youth Development Worker. I love my role and I am very excited about introducing some projects that I’ve initiated at the school and with Ukulapha.
I love my girl groups, I’ve been a part of so many that I myself along with a few other girls created our own in Toronto, Ontario; Generation of Leaders. Generation of Leaders is currently focused on the South Sudanese community, a program built by Africans for Africans in hopes or reestablishing unity within our communities. We focused on women because there is an important and powerful force created, driven and embodied when women come together. Now through Ukulapha here in South Africa we’ve organized a Generation of Leaders: South Africa at Slangspruit Primary School and will be hosting a Women’s Summit before I leave back to Canada. This has become a great leadership program, which is meant to be sustainable and done for the community by the community. My mission before I leave is to make sure there is consistency and that we have leaders in the community working together with Ukulapha to maintain the program.
We didn’t leave our boys out either. I’ve come up with a Boys Leadership Group that has a smaller number of participants than Generation of Leaders. We are working with troubled boys who are at risk of being involved in gang activity and other various issues in the community. All the children we work with have strong personalities, yet are very different. These boys have hopes and dreams but surely need guidance. With cases like these it is important to have someone who can relate to them and their experiences to facilitate the process effectively. We officially have a co-facilitator by the name of Clement Ntuli. To describe and speak about how amazing Clement is and how influential and remarkable his story is, it would require a full lengthy blog post. My next blog will feature Clement!! The hope is to create an art based leadership/mentorship group and involve boys from the community and neighbouring high schools to be mentors.
Sustainability is key when entering positions like international internships. Remaining conscious that you will not always be there is important. In order to encourage development we must engage the community and allow them to build and work for themselves, then they will truly thrive and prosper.