Providing educational support and after-school activities for children in South Africa
A group of inspired and passionate individuals from Kliptown, South Africa noticed something needed to change in their community of forty-four thousand. That is, a community of forty-four thousand without some basic needs of schools, health clinics, electricity and proper sanitation. Yet, instead of simply following the status quo, this group of determined individuals decided to make a tangible difference for their community. This difference led to the foundation of Kliptown Youth Program in 2007 to eradicate poverty through youth education.
Many people have never heard of Kliptown, South Africa. Yet, many do associate modernism and advancement with South Africa. Despite how innovative South Africa is becoming, there are still many towns and villages that are forgotten, neglected, and struggling. Take Kliptown, located in Soweto and established in 1903. Kliptown is built upon rich history and culture as it was the place where the Freedom Charter, the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, was adopted in 1955. Despite its rich foundations, Kliptown struggles to compete with modern society. Without many basic necessities, the youth of Kliptown are often faced with difficulties such as unemployment, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, and most importantly a lack of motivation.
Thus, it became the mission of Kliptown Youth Program to establish an educational based center to encourage the youth of Kliptown to strive for better lives. Based as an afterschool program, KYP helps nearly 450 students with academic homework and assistance. Yet, KYP extends beyond just the simple services of educational tutoring. KYP creates a community of enthusiastic, motivated, and positive youth through their programs involving employment networking, technology services, food programs, performing arts and cultures events, and sports teams. The staff at KYP are inspirational and encouraging mentors that many of these children look up to significantly. The combination of resources, tools, and a positive staff is the reason Kliptown Youth Program was recently just named on CNN’s Top Ten Heroes list.
However, because KYP’s programs are so successful, there are a large number of children that want to become involved with the program. Yet, KYP struggles to maintain the space and resources for this large number of Kliptown youth. This is seen as one of the most pressing hurdles for KYP in the present, and ultimately for the future. Nevertheless, it is the fulfillment of witnessing children envision the importance of education that makes KYP continue each and every day. KYP director, Thulani Madondo, noted that one of the most inspiring aspects is seeing the shift in thought process for children in grade 12. While most children at that age think about where they are going to get jobs, the KYP students are thinking about where to continue their education. This is the ultimate catalyst to ensure real, sustainable change in a community like Kliptown.
For more information, please visit the Kliptown Youth Program website: http://www.kliptownyouthprogram.org.za/
Photos provided by Kliptown Youth Fund.