Young people living in townships are one of the most at-risk groups in the country. Their limited opportunities make pursuing a passion to live up to their potential an almost impossible dream.
Thulani Madondo and his friends were those kids growing up. But instead of shrugging their shoulders and waiting for someone else to improve the world, they took action. The result is the Kliptown Youth Program (KYP). Kids living in and around Kliptown, Soweto, now have a space to learn and grow – a place that encourages them to dream of a better future.
Sipho Dladla, a KYP founder and now acting deputy director, says the organisation makes up for a lack of community resources and mentors. When he and his friends were young they had no-one in their community to offer them guidance and a helping hand. So as adults, they wanted to fill that gap and play that role.
“Within the community we don’t have these formal resources like your libraries, your schools or clinics within Kliptown,” Dladla says.
“So it has been very difficult for us having to do school work that requires research without resources like the internet.”
KYP does not exist to help the poor. Rather, Dladla says, it helps those kids who want to excel and change their lives and their community.
“Within our community we have different challenges and we wanted to be the change we wanted to see within our community. So that’s the reason why we opted to initiate an organisation such as KYP.”
KYP IN ACTION
KYP tackles all the aspects of developing young minds, offering programs in sport, education and nutrition.
The organisation runs a tutoring program that helps school children with homework, assignments and preparation for important exams. Internet access, a luxury in their homes, is free to use at KYP.
In Kliptown, poverty is everywhere. Parents struggle to pay for school fees, books and uniforms. KYP’s school fees support programme helps keep children who would otherwise drop out stay in school.
Funds have been difficult to come by, but it’s not dampened the Dladla or Madondo’s spirit. They continue to do the best they can for the youth. They even stretch their limited resources to cover the fees of the most promising students who get accepted for tertiary education.
“Even some of the staff members and management never got the opportunity to go to university, but we felt that even though we never got those opportunities, let’s open the doors and give those young people who come to the organisation a chance.
“As long as you have an ‘I can do’ attitude, it is possible to succeed regardless of your circumstances”
The success of KYP has been largely dependent on the generosity of individuals and corporations lending a hand in covering the costs of their operations and donating their time as volunteers.
Apart from the donations received from the public, the organisation is also driven by dedicated facilitators like Dladla who continue to see the value in the work they do.
“When I sit down and look back at how far we have come as an organisation, to be honest with you, it brings a smile to my face,” Dladla said.
To help the Kliptown Youth Program grow and reach more youth in Soweto you can have a look at the organisation’s get involved page on their website that offers details on how you can play a part bettering the lives of youth in Kliptown.
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