Date published: 4 May 2018
Tell us about the Kliptown and the Kliptown Youth Program?
As South Africa has grown, there are still some places that are unfortunately neglected by the government. Kliptown, established in 1903 with a growing population of forty-four thousand, is one of those places. Ironically, Kliptown is of immense historical and cultural importance in the history of South Africa, as it was the place where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. Despite its role in history, Kliptown, lacks even the most basic services such as schools, health clinics, electricity and proper sanitation.
In a community afflicted with immense poverty, a high unemployment rate of 70%, a HIV/AIDS rate of 25%, and many teenage pregnancies, the children of Kliptown face immense challenges. Not only do these children have to walk to local schools outside Kliptown, they cannot afford the cost of uniforms, shoes, lunch and books. It is no surprise that many children turn to drugs and crime at an early age.
We at KYP recognize that at the heart of these problems lies the lack of access to proper schooling. While English is taught in most schools as a second language, it is not always taught in a way where the students are adequately equipped to succeed in their matric exams taken at the end of high school. KYP believes that if we identify and nurture talent amongst us, and inculcate the culture of education, we can create positive opportunities for ourselves. In doing so, we are creating a solution to poverty; one by which we can stand up and show the world that we are a force to be reckoned with. On a continent often wrought with victimhood and a hand-out mentality, KYP teaches its children that they deserve that which they create. Together we can empower the youth, foster the cycle of giving back, and help lift Kliptown out of poverty. KYP enables children to break out of this cycle, harness their potential and grow into dynamic and skilled individuals who can give back to society.
What motivated you to start KYP?
I was raised by a single mother with 7 siblings and altogether we were a family of 9. Growing up in Kliptown was challenging, especially with all the social issues faced by the community. In this environment, a child is likely to lose hope. Starting KYP was a way for us to help our community to respond to the social issues we face. As young people who went through these challenges, we started this initiative to help other children to break out of this cycle of poverty. The little we do makes a huge difference, it gives children hope.
What inspires you in your daily work for KYP?
Providing opportunities for young people and making a difference to others inspires me. Knowing that I wake up to do work that not only touches one child at a time, but an entire family and everyone in that child’s life. That keeps me going.
How can people get involved and make a difference?
Our centre is always open for volunteers, anything you wish you can offer, be it skills, funding or your time and effort, that will be hugely appreciated.
What do you think would make South Africa a better place for children?
We need to engage young people in great initiatives that prepare them to be good individuals for the future. Let children be architects of their own futures. We need to invest in the youth, so that they can drive all of us to greatness. Add Hope has assisted the Kliptown Youth Program since 2016. Your donations really make a difference to people like Thulani Madondo and children in the community he serves. The program provides a life to the children of Kliptown not defined by survival, but by the ability to be active community members, to have dreams, and most of all to have hope for the future.