Jan 26, 2018

Meet Future Leader and Artist, Lukhanyo

Lukhanyo is a very talented 12 years old boy, who enjoys Drawing, Math, Science and English. He is working hard to become a renowned artist and electrical engineer. However, coming from a disadvantaged background, Lukhanyo had to struggle to access the education and resources he needed to pursue his dreams.  Lukhanyo and his siblings joined the Afrika Tikkun Child Youth and Development (CYD) Program in Mfuleni, Cape Town and since then, the life of this family has changed for the better.

 Afrika Tikkun’s CYD Program seeks to enhance the capabilities of young people, between 7 and 18 years of age, to participate in the socio-economic development of South Africa as well as to build social capital and the capabilities of young people to become active citizens. By adopting innovative and collaborative teaching techniques, we prepare young people with education and life skills to help them reach their full potential. The Program has been structured to empower young people to form agency and address the social challenges they face in their communities. Moreover, this Program is augmented by support services that include: Primary Health Care, Nutritional and Food Security Services, Psychological/Psycho-Social Services, Sports Development Program, Program Against Gender-Based Violence and Family Support Services. This is because we believe that a comprehensive approach towards development is the most effective way to sustainably break the cycle of poverty for the current and future generations. 

Since joining the CYD Program, Lukhanyo has enhanced his drawing skills and has become a top achiever at his school.  This year he was chosen to become a Peer Educator at Arika Tikkun as he displayed excellent leadership skills and was eager to help other young people with their studies. Lukhanyo has also recently joined the Running Sports Hub, which allows him to focus on his health and fitness. Moreover, his family is receiving Family Support Services through Afrika Tikkun, to help them cope with the challenges of unemployment and low household income. The family will continue to receive monthly food parcels until their financial situation changes.

On behalf of the Afrika Tikkun family, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to you for your ongoing support and for your belief in our model.Our partnership has created opportunities for young people like Lukhanyo to receive quality education and social services that will enable them to become tomorrow’s productive citizens and future leaders.

Jan 9, 2018

Grateful For You!

On behalf of our 20,000+ beneficiaries, Afrika Tikkun would like to thank you for your investment in the future of our youth. Because of generous investments from people like you, our young people have been able to pursue their dreams of becoming 'future leaders'. One of our ‘future leaders’ is Emeraude, who at age 17, is working hard to become a leader in the Tech industry just like his icon and Google co-founder, Larry Page. Your contribution has enabled Afrika Tikkun to provide Emeraude and many young people like him to access quality education and resources that they need to become productive citizens.  

Click HERE to watch Emeraude’s video.

Afrika Tikkun centers are in the five South African township communities (Alexandra, Braamfontein, Diepsloot, Mfuleni and Orange Farm), that are under-resourced and often lack the necessary opportunities for young people to reach their full potential. With the youth unemployment rate averaging at 51.14% between 2013 and 2016, young people remain the largest cohort of job-seekers in South Africa, making them the most vulnerable and more prone to participating in crime, drugs, prostitution and violent protests etc. Afrika Tikkun’s unique Cradle-to-Career development model enables our 550+ employees to deliver services addressing holistic educational, medical and economic needs of marginalized youth from early infancy through adulthood. Our centers provide a safe space where young people are inspired to nurture imagination, cultivate knowledge, and grow in to tomorrow’s leaders.

We thank you for believing in our holistic model and with your ongoing support, we hope to extend our holistic services to more young people like Emeraude, enabling them to become ‘future leaders’.



Oct 27, 2017

GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest Report

This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn't go as planned and how they learned from it. Enjoy!

Afrika Tikkun focuses on the holistic development of young people from Cradle to Career – this means that we are committed to the young person in the context of family throughout the full lifespan of their youth. Our comprehensive model of empowerment requires that those working with the children and young people are from the same communities, and are equipped and supported to deliver the best services they can give.

However, our five community centers are not isolated, and so the myriad of social challenges that exist in the disadvantaged communities we are based in, directly impacts everyone at our centers. Therefore, development of our staff is a priority, which requires intensive energy and commitment. This is the story of how we have tried, failed, picked ourselves up and tried again to increase employee engagement and have an effective management system. It’s a story of failing fast and failing forward – because we work with children, and their lives our precious. Failure has allowed the organization to learn valuable lessons, and ensure even our failures are successes.

When current Chief Operations Officer, Leonie van Tonder was appointed in 2013, she walked into an organization in a crisis of employee morale.  Managers of our centers were not well-integrated within the organization, and employees felt that they were undervalued and their opinions did not matter. To rectify the issues surrounding staff and management, an independent organization, called Mindset Management Programs was hired to compile comprehensive surveys to figure out the nature of the problem.

Mindset’s survey measured: “all facets of employee engagement and organizational health – from culture and alignment with values to performance management, internal communications and employee enablement.”

Staff participated in an anonymous online survey and were assured that management would pay close attention to the views expressed in the results.  The survey showed that 102 out of 399 staff members chose not to participate. It was a disappointing result that re-emphasized the fact that staff members were disengaged. The overall score of 27% for employee engagement was 2% lower than the national average.

Decisive leadership and close introspection was required.


Leonie Van Tonder, who had accepted the position on condition that the Legitimate Leadership Model be implemented, helped to steer the organization towards the following actions:

  • Senior management attended an Employee Engagement workshop where they gained much needed insight into the impact that the different drivers of engagement have on the engagement levels in their respective departments.
  • Actions were taken to address the top five negatives revealed by the survey.
  •  A roadshow was conducted through South Africa which provided Leonie Van Tonder with detailed feedback from general staff – there was 100% attendance!
  • Different forums to address staff complaints were set up and HR complaints were regularly followed up by the COO.
  • The philosophy of Legitimate Leadership, emphasizing both care and growth (growth through empowerment of the individual) was imparted to all members of management over a period of twelve months, starting with the executive management who were required to lead the change in the organizational culture. Also, initial introductions were comprehensively followed up with ten days of coaching sessions, to help managers internalize the ‘Legitimate Leadership Philosophy’ and practice the approach in their everyday management of staff and programs on site.
  • All non-managerial staff also attended training in the ‘Grow to Care Philosophy’.

All the trainings allowed staff to better align their daily actions with the purpose of their programs. They were also able to better articulate the link between their daily duties and the broad strategy and vision of the organization. This has been a five years process, but Afrika Tikkun can now say it has better internalized the values of care and growth.


In September 2017, results from Legitimate Leadership were impeccable! Senior management, now established as legitimate leaders, conducted a survey to measure the effectiveness of the Model. The outcome of the survey demonstrated a remarkable turn-around in the organizational culture across all five centers and the Head Office.

Employee engagement rose to 59%, with 89% staff participation – 482 out of 551! Moreover, not one of the top five complaints brought up reappeared and staff felt that they could now express their views freely and be heard.

Important lessons learned that helped us turn this failure into a ‘successful failure’:

  • If you want staff opinion, ask them – not the HR department.
  • Do not ask for staff opinions and then do nothing about it.
  • Staff will only trust you if your actions prove that they can rely on you.
  • Establish the legitimacy of leaders in their respective roles by respecting and supporting their decision.
  • Executive management needs to be visible.
  • Appreciate and praise staff in public for tasks well performed.
  • Censure in private.
  • Value high standards and morale.
  • Be authentic and true to your values.

We now understand, that in order to continue reforming disadvantaged communities and developing young people, the organization must come together as one and fix internal problems to better serve the community. Once that has been done, we can be fully committed to carry out our mission. It has taken time, significant energy and focus, but it has been worthwhile. Because of this effort, we are so much further down the road towards meaningful empowerment and community development from the inside out.


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