Recently, Wilderness Foundation Africa announced a new partnership with LC Supports Foundation and LC Packaging Southern Africa who share the common objective of eradicating poverty and empowering vulnerable young South Africans with skills to become financially and socially independent and environmentally responsible citizens.
Unemployment in general and specifically Youth unemployment is highlighted as one of the biggest challenges facing our country, so the main objective of the Siyazenzela course is to provide young people with the skills and vocational training which increases their employability while also enabling personal development through emotional wellness guidance.
On 10th May 2021, two of WFA’s Youth Development Programme facilitators, Lwazi and Ntobeko, travelled up to Kwa-Zulu Natal to embark on a two-week Siyazenzela training course with young people from the local communities surrounding Pietermaritzburg, where LC Packaging (in)directly operates.
From nature trails with the Wilderness Leadership School to a tour of recycling and manufacturing facilities, this course exposed the students to a wide variety of environments, both natural and professional, seamlessly combing the healing power of nature with vocational training and personal development. The overarching aim of the course was to inspire the students with an understanding of environmental ethics and to provide them with the tools to combat environmental degradation while simultaneously combatting youth unemployment. As such, the students were left motivated to enact change in their communities and to turn waste into an economic opportunity. Arguably one of the most important aspects of the Siyazenzela course is the consistent emotional guidance the students receive from Lwazi and Ntobeko, which has enabled them to process their feelings and experiences, subsequently allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and become confident leaders in their communities.
‘You playing small does not serve the world’, encouraged Lwazi in the course’s final session, ‘I am going to tell you because no one probably has before: you are enough. You are powerful beyond measure’. Judging by the emotional response of all who were present during this session, it is clear that the impact the Siyazenzela course has on the lives of young people is difficult to describe. Siyazenzela is an opportunity to grow, learn and heal, and for the young people who attend the course it is not something they will ever forget. ‘You are better than yesterday and will be greater tomorrow’. For many this course provides them with an appreciation for the past, gratitude for the present and hope for the future.
WFA is looking forward to seeing what the students will be doing for themselves following on from Siyazenzela and would like to thank LC Supports Foundation and LC Packaging Southern Africa for their support and generosity. WFA would also like to thank Interwaste and Wild Land recycling depot for their informative engagement with the students which provided them with insight into the value of waste. Moreover WFA would like to thank Wilderness Leadership School for allowing the students to reconnect with nature and for inspiring them to conserve what is theirs.