Young people inspired to dream

From left are mentor, Roshaan Solomon-Jhilmeet, YeBoneers Shirne’ April, Nikita Plaatjies, Allinique Carelse and project manager for Year Beyond Scouting in Schools, Ahmad Solomon.

Young people are taking a hold over their future with the help of the YearBeyond programme.

YearBeyond, or YeBo, is a Youth Service partnership between the Western Cape Government, Community Chest of the Western Cape, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and numerous NGOs.

It aims to provide 18 to 25 year olds with a meaningful work experience and a pathway to further studies or work while at the same time encouraging a culture of active citizenship and volunteerism.

Project manager for Year Beyond Scouting in Schools, Ahmad Solomon, said: “We need to turn our youth into contributing citizens. They understand what their next step is. Many of our young people don’t know what to do,” he said.

“Scouts is the largest youth organisation with more than 40k members. They develop leadership in youth and enable them to represent these programmes. Young people are affected by social ills. This is centred around positive values; it is a commitment to make the world a better place,” said Mr Solomon.

Pupils can associate themselves with positive role models and do positive things. “If we change the role model, we change society. If we change the conversation we change the role models. They are busy changing their role models,” he said.

They teach children about issues such as keeping the environment clean, sustainable development goals, and Youth Day.

Eight schools are part of the programme including Lantana, Highlands, Northwood, Westville, Rocklands Primary, Spine View, Wavecrest and Yellowwood primary schools. They host their sessions on Mondays to Thursdays.

Allinique Carelse, who is a youth volunteer, known as a yeboneer, said she is from the area but thoroughly enjoying the programme.

“I want to be their safe space as many don’t have that. I learnt a lot. The pupils learn from one another, making sure we are making them into leaders. When they’re outside with us, we see a different child and they’re free to be who they need to be,” she said.

All the pupils said they were going to watch Sarafina the movie and would sing the songs of the movie.

“We enlightened them on the difference of 27 April and 16 June. They were encouraged by the Youth Day story, fighting for education. Pupils do need role models, we are the youth and some young people are not willing to stand out. We are not here to compete but we’re here to complete,” she said.

Scout YeBoneers, Nikita Plaatjies, said the programmes after school stood out for her.

“They’re very creative. Pupils shout answers you would never think of. They’re not shy and they’re so willing.

“We learnt so much here such as how to speak to pupils and I could practice patience. I would like to start with my career in teaching. Being with them made me realise I want to be in schools and not the business industry.

“That has developed my understanding about kids. No matter what age you are you should always push through your circumstances. There are still opportunities out there and to make use of social media we should use it for the right reasons. Push through your circumstances as die lewe jou drik dan drik jy terug,” said Nikita.

Shirne’ April, a Scout YeBoneer, said they made a big impact on the pupils’ lives.

“The pupils will call to us when we’re walking in the area and say that is our teacher and so they encourage their friend to join in to identify how a teacher or mentor should be,” he said.

The trio has served at Lantana Primary School for four months. Their time will come to an end by the end of the year, she said.

“I want to do teaching. Initially I was interested in being a chef as I liked working with food but this programme has encouraged me to come out of my shell and be and do more.”

“Youth shouldn’t let others put them down. Just do it and try to make up your mind. You won’t reach your goal listening to people, put them off. Social ills may affect us but we can choose to do better in life,” said Shirne’.

For more information follow the YearBeyond social media pages.