Gareth: When Connection is Key

Names: Gareth Kieck
Year joined the enke family: 2012
Community issue: Education
Hometown: Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Gareth

When you think about the vast potential of South Africa it’s easy to overlook the power of connection across class, gender or race. Hailing from the well-resourced Westville Boys High School in Durban, Gareth, Ricky and Zane certainly hadn’t thought much about how to bridge the gap with high school learners in the less-resourced parts of town.

KwaNtebeni Comprehensive High School is about 45 minutes from central Durban, just outside Hillcrest. It’s a relatively small school with access to most basic resources, and a Matric pass rate in the high 70 percentile.  For Ricky, Gareth and Zane, deciding to focus their Community Action Project (CAP) on assisting learners from a previously disadvantaged school with their schoolwork was about tackling two of SA’s biggest challenges; education and inequality. What they didn’t realise was that the relationships they made would have the biggest impact.

Through EduQuality, they recruited thirteen of their Grade 11 peers and committed to teaching Maths, Physical Science and English to sixteen Grade 11 learners at KwaNtebeni Comprehensive. To add value, the KwaNtebeni learners taught them isiZulu. Their commitment to their project garnered the support of their school, KwaNtebeni’s teachers and sponsors such as Pick n Pay, who provided meals for the participants in weekend classes.

For Gareth, coming to enke in 2012 exposed him to a new reality where, “people from different backgrounds [are] all seeking to make a change…I didn’t know that people wanted to do something and make their little change and get dirty.” These new relationship gave him the inspiration and self-belief to stop sitting around talking about doing and just start something. Before enke: Make Your Mark he couldn’t fight the feeling of going against the flow, but now he knows he’s part of a large number of young people creating change. This feeling has been shared with the learners at KwaNtebeni who inspire and are inspired by EduQuality, and that keeps him going.

Gareth talks a lot about learning on the run during the project. He says, “What we ended up doing was getting out and trying, just doing…we just had to be adventurous, and it was scary at times…” but by being open to change and taking risks with the support of his friends, they were able to get some great results. In the end the pass rate for science was 92% and 80% for maths. Everyone that attended the sessions regularly passed and the teachers at KwaNtebeni were elated with the results.

While the project had a big impact on Ricky and Zane, it was Gareth who found his calling – somewhere in meeting new people, understanding difference more deeply and making new friends, he decided he wanted to create educational opportunities in under-resourced areas. He’s currently studying at the University of Cape Town and beginning the process of learning business and education. His belief is that, “making a change in the world is just making a change in a person’s life” and this is what drives him to come back to enke. This year Gareth’s an enke: Igniter so he can experience that vibe that comes from being with young people passionate about social change – a feeling he says he can’t get anywhere else.

We want to reach 1000 more young people like Gareth by the end of 2015.  You can help us support more projects like this by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign here: http://igg.me/at/enkeMYM/x/828715

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