Names: Avumile Mbali & Nkosana Nkosi
School: Selborne College
Community Issue: Youth Empowerment
Hometown: Zwelitsha, Eastern Cape
What stands out for Avumile and Nkosana about their Community Action Project (CAP) is that it was filled with magical moments. Not the kind of magic that turns a frog into a prince but the kind that turns lessons, hurdles and disappointments into real, meaningful magical moments. Moments that have carried on to influence and inspire them to become the people they are today.
It all started out at the 2012 enke: Forum. Inspired by Forum, Avumile and Nkosana (both from Selborne College in the Eastern Cape) decided to run a CAP that extended their Forum experience to peers within their communities. At Forum they wanted to create a project focused on their shared love for sports and using it as an instrument for social change. Little did they know that the Forum charm would take effect. That’s when they both had an ‘ah-ha’ moment; they found out how experiential learning can be used to achieve social change and by working together, realised their combined action was stronger than going it alone.
Coming to understand more about themselves was a fascinating process for them and they wanted to share it with others. Nkosana recalls “coming out of Forum & feeling on top of the world”, a feeling they channeled into a CAP that sought to cultivate the values of Passion, Respect, Initiative, Discipline, Enthusiasm and Success (PRIDES Movement) in young people. They used experiential learning activities adopted from the enke: Curriculum to build a movement of young people making change in society. They worked with 120 primary school learners in a former township, Duncan Valley Primary School. They recruited 45 peers from their own, and other high schools to facilitate the activities. They received financial and technical assistance from their school, the enke Incubator Fund, The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, as well as community members who provided moral support, advice and guidance.
But, as we all know fairy-tales have a bumpy ride before the happy ending, and this one is no different. After successfully running a number of sessions, they encountered a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – the primary school teachers were unhappy with the perceived lack of safety of the venue and no one involved could find a more suitable place. Sadly this forced them to end their CAP.
When reflecting on what they did and the lessons learnt, Nkosana talks about the impact the project had on the participants but also on him. He believes that the participant weren’t just ‘beneficiaries’; their stories also enhanced their own growth. He now recognises his power as a young leader and wants to keep foster that to bring about change. Avumile and Nkosana are both proud of what they were able to achieve given the constraints. Nkosana remembers one magical moment in particular, “one of the participants was reciting a poem and I could see in their eyes that they felt the change through this program and I could see the participants and facilitators becoming one, that’s when I knew we had achieved our goal”.
So although this fairy-tale doesn’t end with them galloping into the sunset, they feel they made something amazing and remained true to the values they carved for themselves. This pair is proof of the enormous power of personal change even if it is, as Nkosana says, “just one small step”.
We want to reach 1000 more young people like Avumile & Nkosana 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