The demographics of our Ikamvanites* and the inspiration that they are
*Ikamvanites = IkamvaYouth learner
All IkamvaYouth’s learners live in townships, where life for them is harsh, characterised by high levels of poverty, crime and violence, unemployment and a scarcity of resources. Research has established that most young people living in townships have poor educational prospects. The teaching quality at township schools is frequently below the appropriate standard, curriculum coverage is low and classrooms are overcrowded. In South Africa, from a class of 20 only 8 will complete Grade 12 (High School Graduation), 3 will achieve a pass enabling them to access university and only 2 out of this 3 will actually reach university. In a country, where the majority of the children live in townships, only 1 of these 2 learners is likely to be from a township. In South Africa, for people with a degree, unemployment is under 5%. Levels this low can generally be ascribed to individuals moving between jobs.
The communities where our learners live are not only characterised by a lack of income and poor quality service delivery, but also by very disadvantaged, under resourced and under performing schools. Inadequate education is both a symptom and a cause of these circumstances. The environment that these learners come from presents a myriad of constraints that extend beyond the school walls. Parents are generally disengaged and disempowered to assist their children. Financial worries often distract parents and learners from seeing education as a priority, which results in high drop-out rates, poor academic performance, failure of matric examinations, and an inability to access tertiary education or the job market.
In a survey of ikamvanites, only 22% of mothers and 15% of fathers have a grade 12 qualification. As a result, even the most motivated parents are often unable to provide their child with the necessary academic support. The reality is that only 38% of ikamvanites actually live with their parents. Furthermore, households are overcrowded with 35% sharing a bed with another family member. These circumstances mean that learners do not have a second site of learning.
Against this backdrop, Ikamvanites take responsibility for their future by attending IkamvaYouth after school and showing their commitment with their attendance. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of their commitment is their willingness to attend a two-week tutoring programme during the school holidays! For two weeks in July each year, IkamvaYouth embarks on its winter school, where all branches throughout the country host learners for two weeks of intensive tutoring and workshops. The aim of winter school is to provide further supplementary tutoring to our learners, as well as open their minds to the possibilities for their future.
Branches around the country were filled to capacity by energetic bright sparks who were enthusiastic and motivated to take their futures into their own hands. At the Nyanga and Makhaza winter school the excitement generated inspired some talented learners to perform such as Aaron, a grade 11 learner, who showcased his talent and passion for poetry, while a group of grade 10 learners sang their hearts out for the audience.
At IkamvaYouth, we are proud that this work is achieved by young South Africans themselves, (the learners, tutors and branch staff) and we are fueled by the consistent, inspirational talent, as each year ikamvanites defy the odds of their communities and their schools. Please continue to support this great work by investing in the youth of South Africa, allowing them to take the future into their own hands!
The children of South Africa represent 36% of the total population. 66% of these children live in the poorest households, which means their household income is less than R10,009 per year (less than $1,000 per annum). The schools that these children attend are often very poor performing township schools. Year in year out, less than half of South Africa’s children matriculate, which means they face unemployment or menial work.
For many children in South Africa, education represents the only way out of a life of entrenched poverty. IkamvaYouth is much more than an education programme, as it plays a crucial role in promoting wellbeing into adulthood and importantly ensuring that our learners access a post school opportunity that puts them on the path to earning a dignified living.
The matric class of 2015 was IkamvaYouth’s largest ever, with over 240 Ikamvanites. These dedicated young men and women have overcome extraordinary adversity to reach and pass matric. From extreme poverty to gang violence, disintegrating families to drug and alcohol abuse, townships like Nyanga and Umlazi, the places the Ikamvanites call home, struggle with terrible social problems.
Despite those problems, the Ikamvanites of 2014 not only achieved an 82% matric pass rate, but 89% of all those who took their matric (whether they passed or failed) have already gone on to access the post-school opportunities to set them on the path to earning a dignified living.
Even more impressively 49% of the matriculants accessed either universities or colleges– proving that where you come from is no barrier to where you can get to in life. Ikamvanites are entering fields of study from chemical engineering to law, accounting to education, information technology to environmental management.
A further 11% accessed learnerships, 7% accessed employment, and 22% have returned to school to supplement or upgrade their matric marks. We will continue to work with those Ikamvanites who have not yet found a post-school opportunity, and help set them, too, on the path to a dignified living.
IkamvaYouth wishes to thank our committed donors for all the support they’ve given us - without you our work would not be possible.
IkamvaYouth learners are celebrating great matric results; once again these township youth have achieved results that far surpass the national averages, showing that the odds can indeed be overcome. Matrics from nine branches across five provinces achieved an overall 82% pass rate, with 87% of those eligible for tertiary study (51% bachelor and 36% diploma).
The organisation is proud to achieve these results while scaling its reach; the class of 2014 (244 learners) saw a 63% growth in matric numbers from the previous year (153 learners). Two branches are celebrating excellent results for their inaugural matric cohorts: Joza in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, achieved an 85% pass with 89% of those eligible for tertiary, and Ikageng in the North West achieved an 84% pass with 95% of those eligible for tertiary studies. IkamvaYouth’s director Joy said: “I’d like to congratulate the ikamvanites on your incredible achievements. I would also like to thank all our staff, tutors, supporters and donors for the energy, commitment, love and support that makes this work possible.”
The class of 2014 are going on to study a range of important fields that will equip them with the skills they need to build South Africa, including medicine, speech and audiology, social work, biomedical science, town management, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and information technology to name just a few!
One of the many examples of incredible achievement comes from Tiyiselani, who joined the Ebony Park branch in 2012 as a grade 10 learner, when she was really struggling at school. Soon her results began to shoot up, and they didn’t stop! She got 6 distinctions, and has already been accepted to study medicine at UCT. This is an exceptional achievement: “I feel so proud, I feel so proud.. words can’t describe how excited I am for her, and I wish her and all these learners all the best in life”, says Nyasha, Branch Coordinator at Ebony Park, where 91% of the class of 2014 have indicated that they want to return to IkamvaYouth to become volunteer tutors.
IkamvaYouth's work with the class of 2014 is far from over. While many of those who passed have already been accepted by the country's top universities, there is still work to be done to ensure that none of the class of 2014 become NEETs (not in education, employment or training). Most of the learners who did not pass are eligible for supplementary exams, and IkamvaYouth will be supporting these learners to ensure that they are well-prepared to clear this hurdle on the way to securing post-school opportunities.
Thank you to all of our supporters for all you do for our learners. We at IkamvaYouth are continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors like yourself and there is no way to fully express our gratitude for your support.
We hope that you will continue to partner with us – either as a repeat donor or even as a volunteer, tutor or mentor. Join us in our commitment to create a better, brighter future for South Africa’s learners.
For more information about IkamvaYouth, please refer to our 2013 Annual Report.
Every year IkamvaYouth arranges two weeks’ intensive tutoring which takes place during the Winter School holidays (‘Winter School’). Winter School is one of the most expensive aspects of our model as the learners have to be transported from their local branch to the venues and we also cater for our learners whilst they are there, often it is the only meal our learners will eat that day. This year close to 1,000 learners participated in Winter Schools across the country. IkamvaYouth’s volunteer tutors did not disappoint as they attended with such motivation and determination to ensure that the Winter School of 2014 was a great success.
During Winter School not only do our learners participate in intensive tutoring sessions but they also attend workshops and events with our partner organisations. For example, South African Astronomical Observatory ran workshops on the night sky, Capitec ran workshops on financial literacy and HIV testing took place at all winter schools. Many young minds were inspired during IkamvaYouth’s Winter Schools and many dreams took a giant leap towards their fulfilment.
An addition to our model this year was Matric Camp in the Western Cape for our Grade 12 learners who are completing their final year of school. This year due to their rural location the Grade 12s from our Eastern Cape Branch, Joza, were transported to the Western Cape so that they could participate in matric camp. The first day saw all the learners arriving at the site and participating energetic team-building exercises to help break the ice as learners started interacting more freely across the branches. True to IkamvaYouth culture, tutoring started in earnest from day one and the learners spent the rest of the afternoon working through past exam papers and Answer Series guides.
Throughout the camp learners took part in a variety of activities aimed at preparing them for their final exams and tertiary studies: from intensive tutoring and exam practice to workshops around how to study effectively and evening self-study times.
Whilst the camp is a serious study boot camp, with tutoring happening from early in the morning until late into the night, the learners found the time to energise themselves through an impromptu talent show; an evening of singing, dancing, stand-up comedy and drama.
Sixolisiwe Sibebosi, a volunteer tutor, said: ‘The matric camp was very productive. Firstly everything was well prepared, the kids were hungry to learn and that motivated me. IkamvaYouth has changed my life; I passed my matric because of IkamvaYouth’
Bonke Sibunzana, a learner said: “What I liked about matric camp was how committed the tutors were. They encouraged us to use the tutoring time wisely. I also like how united we were as Ikamvanites. Everyone showed love and support for each other”
Thank you for your continued support of IkamvaYouth. Without you, our work would not be possible.
In 2013, IkamvaYouth established the Community Collaboration department, in a bid to find ways of responding to the many requests by other organisations who wanted to replicate the IkamvaYouth tutoring model. With IkamvaYouth having established a track record of amazing matric (grade 12) results,using an easy to implement tutoring model, the community collaboration department has began working with other organisations to replicate the tutoring model, and thus ensuring more township learners improve their marks.
IkamvaYouth and its partner organisations have realised the need to collaborate in order to succeed and sustain. The realisation that together we are stronger, better, and will inevitably last longer has led to a growing number of trusting relationships developing between organisations. The community collaboration project brings together a group of like-minded forward thinking change-makers who are all working in the after-school education space to provide opportunities to youth living in township communities. The idea behind the community is to offer support to these organisations in order to maximise our collective impact.Over the past six months the community has met monthly to share, complain, advise, suggest and develop solutions to the challenges that our programmes inevitably face. These organisations hail from different communities and are at different levels of their own development yet they have much in common. Arlene Bock from Sozo Foundation has been a committed member of the group since January. She was inspired to participate by ‘the vision of a community of organisations all uniting and supporting one another to a make a significant dent in the challenges many South African youth are faced with.’
This need for support is echoed by all participants and as the community has taken shape it has begun to serve this need. Through the sharing of resources such as a donation of 60 Answer Series books from an organisation with surplus to one with a shortage, and of contacts and opportunities which has led to several students having been accepted on to Enke’s Trailblazer programme for 2014, the collaborative community is working together to reach a common goal. This goal is a strengthened after-school sector that develops South Africa’s youth academically and non-academically to ultimately reach Vision 2030.
The project has been on a steep learning curve since January and various challenges have presented themselves (about as fast as they have been solved!). Despite the difficulties of working as a group, holding people accountable, meeting real needs, individualising support, and monitoring impact, the community continues to benefit the participants and add real value to the programmes that they deliver. Sonwabile Mayekiso, from Education Without Boarders said that being part of the collaborative community has helped him to ‘see ways of overcoming challenges that [they] are grappling with, because other organizations have grappled with the same challenges and have overcome them."
It is clear that South Africa has an education crisis, it is evident that IkamvaYouth is having an impact in this area by improving the academic results of learners, and it is apparent that there are many other organisations and individuals striving to replicate this impact but require support and guidance to do so. To make headway towards Vision 2030 and ultimately to address the education crisis and build a better future for South Africa’s youth, collaboration is needed and the responsibility to provide a space for it is in IkamvaYouth’s hands. As the project progresses IkamvaYouth is exploring innovative ways of offering support and guidance in effective, efficient and sustainable ways.
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