J.K. Rowling notes that "it is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” Refusing to let failure determine the course of their lives, the first Siyazenzela group for 2016, graduated from the wellness and skills development programme on 11 February 2016.
The majority of students enrolled in the programme are recently matriculated youth. Due to their circumstances, they have missed out on the opportunity to gain access to institutions of higher learning or to a job to sustain them and their families. Looking for second chances, the eager youth enrolled for the Wilderness Foundation Africa’s Siyazenzela Programme. Pride and joy were written on the graduates faces as they went up to the podium one by one to receive their certificates. They were in high spirits, singing and chanting at their achievement. The day was indeed one to stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Addressing and congratulating his peers and classmates, Siyabulela Hlebani had the following to say: "This is an act of personal commitment, pride and hard work. We all have dedicated ourselves to get to this day, and all that hard work will not go to waste. Graduation is a milestone, yes, but never the end goal. It is, instead, part of the larger journey of life. This graduation should serve as a launching point projecting us to where we aim to be. It should serve as a starting point to further our achievements."
The first group of the Siyazenzela programme for 2016 had enrolled 35 learners. 30 learners have graduated and received a certificate of recognition from the programme. Out of these 35 learners, fifteen of the most promising have been afforded an opportunity to attend a Computer course with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – a partner of the Wilderness Foundation Africa.
The Wilderness foundation will cover transport costs for selected students to attend and complete the week long computer course with the university. This project is in line with the organisation’s vision to offer skills training to vulnerable youth to enable them to better compete in employment seeking.
With the Siyazenzela programme, youth are empowered with necessary job skills that prospective employers require from their employees. In this way, Wilderness Foundation Africa makes its contribution to curbing high unemployment and poverty in the country.
A poem shared by Yandisa Balekile:
From Darkness to Light
I was a child
Who was in the dark about the outside world
Who depended on parents
Who did not even know who she is
But you taught me
To be an adult
You taught me
About what this world offers me
You taught me
To be independent
You taught me
To be a professional
Made me see
That I am powerful beyond measures
Now I know
I now know
For my life to be what I want
I have to do it myself
To make a difference in my life
I have to be the change that I want to
See in my life
I have to let my light shine … and
All begins with me