Here at Initiate International we are passionate about the future of South Africa, and we pride ourselves on playing an integral part as Recruiters to help uplift the South African employment market on a daily basis. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t think about other ways we can get involved and ‘do our bit’!
The NGO Initiate International supports, Learning Alive, asked for some help this Human Rights Public Holiday weekend, and I decided I would take time out of my busy social calendar to help; and ultimately check-out whether our computer donations and pro-bono recruitment services have been put to good use! Plus, I wanted to try and win the spelling-bee – although hopes of that were quashed quite quickly, but that’s another story altogether!
What I found was an amazing bunch of teenagers who come from some of the poorest of circumstances, but are determined to change their future. I was quickly assigned the role of being Umpire to the 60-person-strong Scrabble tournament (here I am below)
There was also a spelling-bee, a word game, 3 course lunch, and then a full afternoon of team building including all sorts of fun and activities to learn, all whilst having fun! The spirited smiles and high-jinx I experienced would be like walking into any away day for an school anywhere in the world, but the fact that most of these kids come from some of the poorest areas of South Africa (nay, the world) meant it made it all the more special for them, and for me to be part of.
However, let’s not ponder their backgrounds for too long; they don’t. These kids were motivated, excited and ultimately just lovely human beings who are benefitting hugely by the work of Ann-Marie Olufuwa, the Founder & CEO, and her team – which is partly funded by the American Embassy. Ann-Marie is a successful and highly qualified British teacher who came to South Africa in 2010, and fell in love with the idea of empowering township kids with the quality of free education they deserve. What she has done in 5 short years is nothing short of spectacular! Currently running after school and Saturday schools all over the greater Johannesburg area in the likes of Diepsloot, Soweto and Cosmo City; she has grown the NGO to become one of the biggest access programmes in South Africa and has personally written a syllabus textbook that is now being used the world-over. Impressive? I know! But what is more impressive is how she captivates 60 children all at once and manages to capture a lovely memento of my day spent with these kids – in the guise of this photo!
This won’t be the last time we get involved with Learning Alive, but maybe next time I will take the whole of the Initiate International recruitment team with me! For more information about Learning Alive, please visit our Partnerships page or drop our Partnerships Manager, Bernadette Kruger, a line.