October Newsletter 2016!

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Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

In 1986, Paul Simon sang ‘she’s a rich girl she don’t try to hide it, diamonds on the soles of her shoes, he’s a poor boy, empty as a pocket, empty as a pocket with nothing to lose’ with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. After only a view days in South Africa, Simon was able to sense and articulate one of the fundamental challenges of South Africa – incredible wealth disparity. 30 years later, and despite enormous strides we as a people have taken, this fundamental issue remains as poignant as ever, as highlighted by the youth call around the country for free education for all.

This month Educo Africa honour’s all of the voices in the ‘Fees must Fall’ debate, from the students to the leaders and staff of the institutions, to the government; to even the silent voices of the security personal. So much of the work in South Africa starts with listening. This is what Educo Africa was created to do, to create platforms for people to listen and express to one another their truths in an empowered, non violent and constructive way, without taking from the content of what needs to be said to move forward. We honour those committed to peaceful and rigorous engagement.

This month our newsletter features one such voice from an Educo Africa alumni, EPWP intern and TSiBA Gradui Mlungisi Bundwini on the issue of fees in higher education. Elsewhere, October saw the Sihambela Phambili Programme run the Road Trip 4 Change 2016 project in the Eastern Cape. Sanelisiwe Anathi Lurai shares with us her experience of being part of this inspiring and impactful project. Education without Borders had 12 inspiring young people explore with their cameras a Photographic Weekend at our beautiful base camp in the Grootwinterhoek Nature Reserve. Finally, we celebrate achieving our target of training 200 young people in the Social Enterprise Programme for the Department of Social Development. Read about Madoda Kumalo’s account after attending of these workshops.

October was also a month where we as staff took some time out as staff for a day, practising care for self. “ Being selfish is not a selfish act”. Enjoy some pictures from this day and other courses days in October.

In the final verse Paul Simon sings ‘She said honey take me dancing but they ended up sleeping in a doorway, under the lights and the bodegas on upper Broadway, wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes’. May we as South Africans continue to see the hope in bringing our worlds together despite our differences and fears.

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.

My view on #FeesMustFall Campaign

We live in a world in which the ever rising cost of tertiary tuition is a trend. This has become a problem for South Africa as the majority cannot be able to finance their tertiary tuitions. Mr Nelson Mandela once said “education is the most powerful weapon which we can us to change the world”. Education is indeed a weapon that we can use in order to develop our South African economy, and for our country to have intellectuals that will lead our country to be one of the top developed countries in the world. South Africa is still a developing country and therefore free education is not sustainable for our economy. As South Africans we cannot compare our country with the developed economies that offer free education because these countries are economically prosperous, with some of the highest level of taxation on income is up to 57% in the world. Hence, realistically our country is not in a position to offer free education and therefore it will be a bad idea for free education.

One of the solutions to the fees must fall is through a sliding scale. The sliding scale is based on a person’s ability to pay the fees looking at annual earnings in the household. The sliding scale model motivates an equal distribution of income. For an example TSiBA Education has adopted the sliding scale model, where students pay their tuition based on their family earnings, and the rest is funded by the institutions sponsors. Therefore, those individuals who come from poor or low earning income must pay a certain portion of fees, and the government will finance the rest through other financial sponsorship. Those who can afford to pay the tuitions will have to finance their fees.

In conclusion we need to be realistic that South Africa is a highly unequal capitalist society. Even if the government would approve the #FeesMust Fall campaign, the money has to come somewhere to finance education. We must not forget that government largest revenue is through taxes and therefore that would mean the government will have to increase taxes so that a portion of that percentage gets allocated to education. This will then discourage the labour force and can lead to an increase in job losses and unemployment. It is important as South Africans to use an open mind when it comes to issues to will affect our economy negatively in future and work together and come up with solid and valid solutions that will take this country forward.

On the road trip I learned a lot of things, the first thing I learned is how to mingle with different people from different walks of life, and how to accommodate each and every one of them.

How to come together with people whom you’ve never met before and form a strong team that strives towards achieving a common goal.
I learnt that sitting in silence sometimes does not solve anything you’ve got to speak up and voice out your emotions/views. I learnt that as an individual you should never allow the next person to limit you.

For me the career guidance workshop motivated me to push more. People shared personal struggles they had to go through, their academic challenges; I saw the importance of self-development and what it means to be hungry for success. This encouraged me not to give up on education it does not come easy but it’s worth it. It made me reflect on my personal struggles and see that those challenges cannot hamper with my success. It motivated me to be a better individual who must know the importance of giving back through education.

The road trip also helped me overcome my fear of speaking in public I got out of my comfort zone . It’s hard though with all the people looking and listening to you, but it was a great learning curve for me I’m still getting used to the idea of speaking in public.

It was also great to see the other side of Eastern Cape how people live in other areas. It was just amazing to share space with the young focused people I’m now groomed to be a better person.

I’m now fully aware that giving back is not only about giving money. Investing in a child’s future is a great way to give back!

My name is Madoda Kumalo, I am an employee at the Amandla Edufootball in the area of Gugulethu as a Youth Café Connector. We had a training session from the staff of Educo Africa about Social Enterprise which lasted for two days.

I attended the training as a coordinator of our volunteers to see if they attend or not. Yet what I got from the training was very interesting and information was spot on for me. I took a lot, I even think of opening my own business one next year or the year that follows. Also what was wonderful for me and the guys was:
The energy the team brought with.
The on point information they brought.
Always asking the guys & girls to participate.
The lessons we exciting, informative and relevant to day to day lives.
 
We got to be reminded on the things that are very important in starting a business.
We got why businesses don’t do well if one don’t do good research and look at the market he or she should see demand on. Creating a Budget for your Goal/Business is important for making sure that it will start and stay open as you would know what you will be your Income and Expenditure will be.
 
I am thankful to the efforts the Organization puts out, in training tomorrow’s young business entrepreneurs so to make sure we as people are not afraid in opening our own businesses as we all have great ideas yet don’t know how to go about reaching our goals without fear.

I would love to attend another session to further my knowledge about opening and sustaining my small business one day and learn how my business would give back to the community than only make Profit for only myself alone.
 
Thank you
Madoda Kumalo