Janet Wilkinson was delighted to catch up with some of the high school children who have participated on the CITW camps at Pafuri Trails since 2013. She reports on the most recent August workshop with the Makuleke children where the focus was on life skills, tertiary education and entrepreneurship.
These children are the CITW Makuleke Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) group and have quietly been trying to make a difference in their communities. For example, some of them got together to do a door-to-door clean up in their village for their 67 minutes for Madiba.
The workshop covered three main topics; The River of Life, Grow Your Own Money and I Want To Be A … Lindy Nieuwenhuizen, a diehard Nedbank Tour de Tuli and CITW volunteer, hosted The River of Life sessions where children create their own picture that reflects how they see what has been significant in shaping the direction of their lives.
CITW’s Bongani Baloyi (also from Makuleke) hosted the Grow Your Own Money sessions where children learned about square metre gardening and the value of growing and trading vegetables in the square metre. The financial aspect of these sessions proved thought provoking – how much does your household currently spend on fresh vegetables and how you can save this money growing your own.
Janet Wilkinson (CITW SA Programme Coordinator) facilitated the I Want To Be A … sessions which provided information on study paths and options for tertiary education and ways to fund this education. Children were encouraged to do further research into their dream careers and study paths required. Information was provided to encourage considering ‘Plan E’ – become an entrepreneur, start your own small business.
Although the three topics touched on tough issues like money (or rather the lack thereof) and dealing with disappointment of disappearing dreams, the children remained upbeat and focused on the many positives.
After lunch, we held a thoroughly enjoyable and fun quiz with questions from things children had learned on their various camps. For us mentors, it was encouraging to see how much children had remembered from previous camps.
Dividing themselves into smaller groups, each group brainstormed acts of kindness and ways to volunteer within their communities and undertook to hold monthly YES meetings to implement these. Ideas included filling road potholes with sand to help passing motorists, starting a community vegetable garden, making ‘tippy taps’, planting more trees, and helping the elderly and poorer people in the community. We ended the day with a slide show of memories from all of the CITW Pafuri Trails camps which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Each child went home with various packets of vegetable seeds to “grow their own money”.
Some verbatim quotes from the children’s workshop feedback forms
- CITW has helped me know how to correctly choose my dream career and the best institution – LLOYD (18)
- CITW has taught me life skills I need to achieve my goals – DESTINY (16)
- It has taught me the values of leadership – DESTINY (16)
- It has taught me to respect others – PHANUEL (16)
- CITW has helped me even not to lose hope on my career – XIHUNDLA (18)
- CITW has taught me how to make my own money – NTWANANO (15)
- It has made me proud and believe in myself that I can make it whether I do have money or I don’t have money – JESSICA (17)
- CITW teach me to love where I belong – JESSICA (17)
- It helped me to know that I don’t go to university I can start my small business and make my own money to make a living – THULISILE JUDITH (17)
- They teach me to respect others and to volunteer at elders who need my help – PHINDILE (15)
- It has opened my eyes to see how I can be responsible on my own and to be who I am – MIXO PRETTY (18)
Written by Janet Wilkinson, CITW Programme Coordinator South Africa
Source: Wilderness Safaris Blog