Educo Africa-May Newsletter 2016

Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

This month’s newsletter celebrates three young individuals in our Sihambela Phambili Programme. The programme is for young South Africans who have been on an Educo Africa wilderness course, to initiate and develop a community upliftment project or activity. The ‘Making Local Government Work’ Project, where young people are learning on how to engage with their local government and develop campaigns to empower other youth to do the same, has Shandré Samantha Slinger from Hanover Park sharing some of her experiences joining the project. A second Making Local Government Work participant Mcebisi Emmanuel Ntonzinde had his comments published on News24, check out the article on!
And last but not least, Wendy Pikele, one of our new Sihambela Phambili Programme ‘Leadership Team’ members also shares her experiences realising her full potential.

Out on the wilderness courses, the cooling weather has been playing a big part in the experience of going into the outdoors and even more so when going into the mountains of the Groot Winterhoek Nature Reserve. Our 36 participants who were on 3 separate courses over the past few weeks experienced weather that ranged between -3 degrees and 14 degrees. In those temperatures teamwork is essential and spirits can soar from the learning experience that being out in the elements offers.

This brings us to the subject of donations, yes the monetary ones are crucial to our operation but we also are very thankful for donations of ‘things’. Recently we were most grateful to receive a bakkie-load of coal to help keep the fires that warm participants going. Another wonderful gift has been a donation of various outdoor items from someone who has ‘upgraded’ their camping and hiking equipment. All donations that can help us to keep making a difference in the lives of young people are welcome. In our last letter we requested paint (any paint) to freshen up the rooms at our Outdoor Centre in the mountains, that request still stands!!

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Story from a participant from the Making Local Government Work Programme(MLGW)

Hi! I am Shandré Samantha Slinger from Hanover Park, and I would like to share my experience of the programme.

When I first heard about the Programme: ‘Making Local Government Work’; I was excited because I thought that I have a chance now to do good in my community and to know my Ward Councilor as well. I told myself, at that exact moment, that I need to be part of this Programme.

At the first workshop I attended for the MLGW Programme, I felt that I belong and I have a chance to do something I love; and that is to serve the people. The Programme will help my community because it will inform youth and show the importance of their involvement in local government.

The highlight of this programme is that I to know my Ward Councilor and built a connection when it came to community matters. Being able to interview him for the first assignment was exciting, formal but fun. My councilor answered the questions like a seasoned politician.

The workshops were exciting as it gave me an opportunity to visit different locations and engaged with different communities. I came with an idea on how I can implement what I learnt and to give back to my community. I would go to public places such as the Library, Day Hospital and High Schools; and asking them questions: “do you know your Ward Councilor?, Do you know where is your administrative offices?, Do you know who to contact if there is a burst pipe?” The majority of the answers I received was “no”. I then educated them with the knowledge I got from the MLGW programme.

In doing so it was also a way to recruit youth for our campaign. It will be a campaign where the voices of the YOUTH will be heard and reduce the amount of anger and frustration.

The future of South Africa is in our hands. Amandla!

New member to the Sihambela Phambili (SP) Leadership Team and let’s hear what she has to say. Meet Wendy Pikelele from Mfuleni; Cape Town

From a very young age, I was never raised to be an individual and stand on my own but was always encouraged to share my knowledge and expertise to those around me. In that way, I also learn from them and gain more about life aspects at large.

I became part of the Sihambela Phambili Leadership Team to help others realise their full potential, to explore and accept their identities. As a young person, who is also not perfect and has made some mistakes in the past and continues to make such, I believe I have a much greater influence on my peers than anyone else ever would. There is no such thing as being too young, age has nothing to do with it but rather the willingness of the heart and the dedication to the work is much more important.

I also believe that as a person, you will always be a piece of a puzzle needed to complete someone else’s life. Sometimes, you are the first piece or maybe the very last one, but what’s important is that you can start today; it’s never too early to make a difference. As the SP Leadership Team we aim to provide as much information to the public, in a completely free and easily accessible manner. As the great Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. We pride ourselves in going an extra mile to lead by example and make our mark.

The vision for the team is to spread our wings and fly across our country and be recognised as young people, and who are willing to sacrifice their time for other young people. As our name states “Sihambela Phambili” meaning Moving Forward so we are not static and are not going to stand in one place and wait to be heard, hence we will go out there and reach out to the youth and let “our voice” the voice of the youth of South Africa be heard. There will be people who say you are wrong simply because of your age. However, those people do not define you. You set your own limitations. The most important thing to remember is that your age is not a liability. It’s a superpower.

And, the next time someone says “You’re rather young, aren’t you?” Say, “Yes, I am.”!

Educo Africa is a youth development organisation started in South Africa in 1994. The first phase of our overarching programme uses wilderness experiential learning as a profound platform for young people to experience their inherit potential. The second phase is a youth movement supporting young people in living their potential, with a specific focus on social and environmental wellbeing.   VISION Young people understanding their roles as powerful agents for change – actively, confidently and positively contributing towards a better global community.   MISSION To develop in young South Africans a sense of vision, initiative, contribution and personal responsibility, with emphasis on taking charge of the future through active citizenship and community building, collaborative leadership, a spirit of Ubuntu, and care for the environment.   EDUCO AFRICA CORE VALUES Diversity – means for us To act in our highest integrity and respect, authenticity and from a place of love for all difference and uniqueness. Openness – means for us To accept challenges as opportunities for experience and learning while being non-judgemental toward everyone and all things. Enthusiasm – means for us To live and pass on our work and vision with passion, care and joy. In doing so we strive for excellence. Inter-connectedness – means for us To treat our inner and outer nature with mindfulness and appreciation, to protect it and care for it, acting in an ecologically sustainable and health conscious manner.

Educo Africa Wishlist for a this Month!

Our basecamp kitchen and shower areas are in need of a new coat of enamel paint. If you have any enamel paint in your garage that you would like to donate, please send us an email. We would be grateful for any amount in any colour!