Press Release: Empowering Young South Africans To Make Their Mark

The annual enke: Forum will bring together 250 young South Africans from across the country, all of whom are passionate about making a difference. Run by enke: Make Your Mark, a national youth development organisation, this year two events will be hosted – one in Johannesburg in June, one in Cape Town in July.  Each forum comprises of a week-long, leadership retreat where participants develop their own solutions to social issues facing the country However, this isn’t just about ideas – each participant leaves the week committed to taking their solution and turning it into a reality.

With speakers at the events including Gareth Cliff, Janine Jellars, Tshepo Phakati and Shaka Sisulu – all leading young people in their own rights, the event focuses on inspiring youth to take action.  The Forum brings together young people from all walks of life, uniting them around a shared vision for a brighter future for South Africa.

“enke changed my life in terms of teaching me how to be a better leader and how to react towards all circumstances coming my way.” reflected Katlego Chabalala, 2012 enke: Forum participant. “I learnt that for one to be a good leader you must first know and understand the people you are leading,”

The enke: Forum is not just a once-off event; it is the starting point of the 9-month long enke: Trailblazer Program (formerly known as the enke: Youth Award Program).  This innovative program lets young people take the driver’s seat for social change: letting them set the agenda on what really matters and empowering them to run with their own creative solutions.

“The most valuable learning occurs from real-world experiences. At enke, this happens when participants return home, inspired and energized after the Forum, and run their own youth-led community action projects,” says Philippa Wheaton, co-founder and CEO of enke: Make Your Mark. “They realise that they don’t have to wait for someone else to change things, they know that they can do it themselves.”

In 2012, the 176 participants who engaged in the enke: Trailblazer Program had a secondary impact on over 6,490 individuals across South Africa, through their community action projects. Projects ranged from programs of teaching and mentorship to improve their peers’ grades, awareness programs on teen suicide and teen pregnancy, peer motivational workshops to address social apathy, food and clothing drives, as well as after-school entertainment clubs to provide a safe haven for youth in their communities

The diversity and breadth of participant projects show that young people not only care about their communities but that they are capable of driving positive change within their communities once equipped with the skills and support. It is gratifying to witness learners realise that they are part of a network of like-minded young South Africans who care as much as they do, and that there are people who are cheering them onto success.

The 2013 enke: Trailblazer Program is made possible through the support of Absa, Australian Aid and the DG Murray Trust, as well as partnerships with Investec, Nedbank and Deloitte, who have sponsored young people to participate in the program.

*The enke: Forum will be taking place in Johannesburg 24 – 28 June 2013 and Cape Town 8 – 12 July 2013.

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