Commemorating Youth Day 2016 – Stories of Youth-Led Change
This June 16th is a significant Youth Day in South Africa. We are commemorating 40 years since the 1976 Soweto Uprising, where thousands of young people sacrificed themselves to protest against the Apartheid Bantu Education system. Today, we draw inspiration from the youth of 1976 in their determination to change the status quo and seek a better a life for themselves.
At enke, we work with young people who are doing what they can with their talents and skills to change a situation that negatively affects their communities. Our Trailblazers are bold self-starters who, like the youth of 1976, blaze a trail for others to see that it is possible for youth to be leaders in their community and work towards positive social change.
In commemoration of this special Youth Day and 40th anniversary, each day this week we will be sharing stories of youth taking action and leading change in their communities. We created this series in partnership with Meghan Daniels, Creative Director & Founder of Illizwi Photo Club. We hope their stories will inspire you and help you see the value of investing in youth.
Mimi Ibrahim: Revamping Her School Library
Mimi Ibrahim, a Grade 11 student from Immaculata High School in Cape Town, is passionate about education. For her community action project (CAP) in the enke: Trailblazer Program, Mimi identified that the library in her school didn’t have updated books that were relevant to her peers.
According to Equal Education – a movement working for quality and equality in South African education – “Only 7.23% of public ordinary schools in South Africa have functional libraries. These are almost entirely situated in former Model-C schools which are able to stock and staff these facilities through their own resources. A history of inequality, rooted in apartheid and Bantu education, underlies these unacceptable conditions that the government has to a large extent inherited.” (Equal Education Libraries Campaign)
Elaborating on the importance of having an adequate library in her school, Mimi says, “Many students in my school can’t do their work at home because there is no
electricity or things happening that stop them from focusing. Having a library gives us a safe space to be inspired and do our work.”
Mimi recruited three friends and, with them, mobilised support from the principal and educators in the school to make the project a reality. The project involved getting new books and making the library a place of pride that other learners would use. By March 2016, Mimi and her team had replaced all the library’s outdated books with books that are more applicable to youths in today’s context. Next, Mimi is working to raise funds and run a donation drive for computers, and to repaint the library’s walls.
All youths deserve an equal and adequate access to education and Mimi has made steps to ensure this for her fellow learners through her project.
Written by Meghan Daniels
Photo Credits: Meghan Daniels Photography
Edited by Rufaro Mudimu
Mimi Ibrahim was a participant in the 2015-16 enke: Trailblazer Program, a 9-month long youth leadership and social action program for Grade 10 and 11 learners that starts at the annual enke: Forum – a week-long leadership skills conference. As part of the Trailblazer Program, high school youth are encouraged and supported to start Community Action Projects (CAPs) – a project that tackles a social issue that the young person cares about. Throughout their implementation youth receive dedicated support from enke – troubleshooting implementation challenges as well as emotional and morale support. Through this, we hope to inculcate a culture of youths being proactive and taking action as opposed to waiting for someone else to do so. Beyond that, the youth gain entrepreneurial skills and a mindset that last a life time. Find out more at www.enke.co.za