Taydren van Vuren: Taking Action Against Social Injustice and Privilege
Taydren van Vuren, currently a Grade 12 learner in Cape Town, found out about the enke: Trailblazer Program through enke’s partnership with the Catholic Institute of Education. Throughout the 9 months of the Program, Taydren has run multiple community action projects in her school raising awareness around privilege and social injustice in the country. All her efforts are to show that young people can and should use their voices for social justice.
Her advice to future Trailblazers, is that they must just start: “Start with something. Do something now, you will find once you do that, you will not stop.”
Her first project was running a fundraising event for One Two One, an organization that works with children who are handicapped. The aim of the event was to raise funds for the organization and also create awareness around challenges that people living with disability face.
One of the key lessons she had learned at the enke: Forum was the importance of social capital in a project’s success. So her first step was to recruit other students to join her. She made presentations to other Grade 11 students at her school, sharing why it was important to join her and be successful with the project. From her presentation she was able to get 11 other students to work with her. After a long month of planning, coming to school during weekends and overcoming conflict situations, the event took place and it was a success.Through the event they collected more than 350 teddy bears and thousands of Rands which were donated to the One Two One organization.
Besides the money and the toys, what Taydren appreciated most about the event was how her peers came out in numbers on the day of the event to assist. “There were students who came in the morning to help us set up and stayed for the reminder of the event. We had not expected that at all and it was amazing!”
She further attributes the success of this event to her team. She states that though they had their challenges, they all brought in different skills that allowed the event to be a success. “We had people who were good in marketing, finances and peoples skills. All this combined, we were able to have an amazing event.”
The event also hand an impact on other students who were not part of the planning committee. “We had students that were there with us in the morning to help us set up and they stayed for the duration of the event. They also participated in the activities that we had,”says Taydren.
Since the One Two One event Taydren has gone on to conduct campaigns on privilege, human rights and how students can use their voices to fight against social injustice. Recently, she ran a campaign called “How do you take your water?” The campaign aimed to first create awareness around how privilege there were and, secondly, to get her peers to donate more water to communities that are worse affected by the current drought South Africa is faced with. “The fact that I might not be feeling the current drought does not mean others also don’t and I can play a role in changing it.”
Another campaign was focused on Human Rights issues. For 15 days they ran the 30 Rights in 30 Days, an international campaign aimed at educating students about their rights and responsibilities. Taydren is a strong believer that awareness alone is great but not enough. The youth have voices and it’s about time that they do something about the social injustices in the country. Therefore, there is that much more responsibility upon one act because now you know.
Taydren plans to continue with her CAP, doing more campaigns to create awareness and address privilege that will hopefully lead to action. She believes that what they have started needs to continue and want to inspire more people to make a change. There is still a need to educate other students about their privilege and the injustice in the country. “In order for the CAP to continue it needs to be sustainable and therefore, I plan to recruit more students to be part of the project,” says Taydren.