In the beginning…
The idea for enke: Make Your Mark (“enke”) was formed while Tom Walsh, Philippa (Pip) Wheaton and Kathryn Maunders, the three founders, were working in some of the most under-resourced schools in KwaZulu-Natal. These international volunteers realised that the young people they were working with were all dissatisfied about the situations in their schools, their communities, their cities, but weren’t being given a chance to make the changes they wanted to see.
Recognizing a need for a space where young people from all backgrounds could come together to develop creative, youth-led solutions, Tom, Pip and Kathryn decided to create one themselves. Thus, in February 2009, the concept of the enke: Forum, a space where youth were able to take their ideas and turn them into action, was born.
What we discovered was that South Africa was, and still is, missing out on the full potential of its young people. The traditional education system, with its focus on hard, technical skills, is not giving youth the soft (non-cognitive) skills to thrive in life beyond the classroom. This contributes to the rising youth unemployment rate, which is currently sitting at 41%, and the many issues that disproportionately impact youth. This has become a source of social unrest, individual despair and uncertainty for youth.
Our focus is to reverse these trends by focusing on building the inherent assets of young people through their participation in social innovation and entrepreneurship.
In the last 6 years we have grown and evolved into an organisation that inspires creative solutions and meaningful action. Now, we run holistic programs and provide services to impart the skills and belief systems that enable youth to become effective leaders – people who have the desire and ability to identify and access opportunities for a more positive future.