Eight successful friends from various walks of life wanted to use their experiences and knowledge to inspire other young people, and help to put them on the path to success. Together the eight formed Spread Luv Movement (SLM).
Founded in 2009, SLM’s mission is to inspire the youth through hosting workshops in schools and connecting via social media. “The majority of us are University of the Witwatersrand graduates, barring a few friends from high school,” explains Kgomotso Mokoena, the chief executive of SLM. “We are all friends socially and decided to come up with a way that we could give back here and there with our spare time and collective expertise.”
Mokoena is an attorney of the High Court of South Africa, practising as an associate at law firm Cheadle Thompson Haysom in Johannesburg. She specialises in labour law. “I definitely think that what we as South Africans are lacking is co-operations in solving South Africa’s problems.”
“Each NGO and each government agency and each private sector company has its own method and agenda in solving problems instead of all working together to create holistic, more far-reaching solutions.
Through SLM, the eight women use their professional connections as volunteers who help to guide pupils in grades 8 to 12 by giving them information on career choices. They also share first-hand experiences on where and what to study to prepare themselves for their careers.
Funding for studies is also explored, with help in learning how to apply for bursaries from private sector companies. Information on tertiary education is another topic. Volunteers must be 35 years old or younger, as SLM believes teens listen to and learn more from each other than from adults who may not relate to youth. “We do not have official sponsors. We do receive the odd donation but luckily for us our operations are very low cost. All of the young professionals who work with us do so on a volunteer basis,” explains Mokoena.
At the school workshops, the volunteers can give a brief presentation followed by one on one engagements with pupils, so that they get as much clear information as possible, and can build relationships with people who may be their employees, colleagues or clients in the future. “We often return to schools and provide follow up events. We also stay in touch with learners via email and social networks so we can, where necessary, provide on-going advice and support.”
SLM, a non-profit organisation, has held workshops at 45 schools. It visited Bokgoni Technical Secondary School in Attridgeville, in Tshwane in May. SLM executive director Lee-Anne Cobus was one of the speakers. She started her career as a junior engineer at Sasol Technology before moving to Sasol Wax in 2011 as the senior process engineer.
“The most important achievement, however, has been to see several of the learners we mentored go on to excel in their tertiary studies.”
“We do try where possible to work with other NGOs by providing them with career days, promoting their career events and giving support and advice where necessary. We feel that we can never reach every learner and we should support organisations that do similar work to us,” Mokoena adds.
The team consists of Louise Mokonyane, the Project Planner who is a travel manager at Jasco Trading; Qhama Didiza, the executive director who is a quantity surveyor at the international construction and management consulting firm Turner and Townsend in Johannesburg; and Simnikiwe Koni, the executive director in the finance portfolio who is a junior events manager for In Any Event events and PR management company.
The other executive directors are Mmaphuti Mashiane, an entrepreneur; Selloane Mosala, an entrepreneur; and Linda Zwane, who deals with the youth communications portfolio.