Mitchells plain youth leave a lasting learning legacy
CAPE TOWN, 10 February, 2016: For years to come the youth of Westridge, an area in Mitchells Plain located on the Cape Flats, will benefit from a new library thanks to the commitment by a group of students to uplift fellow youth in the community through education.
With one in five school-going youth on ‘tik’ in the Western Cape, the group of 18 learners at Westridge High decided that they will not become a statistic, and neither would they want any of their peers in the community to either. Recognising that knowledge is power, they sought to empower the youth in their community by upgrading their local school library with much-needed technology and transforming the space into a safe haven for learning.
The school’s library had limited resources and no access to computers nor the Internet, making project research a difficult task. Identifying this, and other areas for improvement, the youth sought to bring about a lasting change to the lives of their school peers of all grades and set out on a mission to achieve their goal, which they affectionately named, Project Tech Book 1 & 2.
The 18 Grade 11 pupils were selected to take part in the Youth4Change movement, a community development initiative conceptualised by WNS South Africa, a leading international Business Process Outsourcing company. The initiative sees the youth develop their leadership skills through implementing an upliftment project for their school or community.
WNS South Africa invested in the project by providing the youth with starter capital and a group of employee volunteers to act as mentors. Additional leadership development and guidance was provided to the youth by Khulisa Social Solutions, a non-profit organisation WNS had selected to partner with for the initiative. However, the youth were ultimately responsible for overall project implementation, conceptualising and promoting fundraising activities, seeking sponsorship, and for physically renovating the library.
Through their tireless efforts, the group of Westridge High students were able to successfully accomplish their desired outcomes. Today, the library boasts 12 new computers, each with access to the Internet, an updated collection of books and a very inviting look and feel, thanks to a fresh lick of paint and tasteful decorating.
On a personal level, the youth were able to experience the sense of accomplishment associated with completing a project while sharpening their leadership and self-management skills at the same time. In addition, they were able to improve their self-image and esteem, develop communication and team building skills as well as hone their problem-solving.
Shalon Wilson, one of the youth involved in the project said that he was able to better understand how businesses operate and all the elements involved in successfully completing a project. “I learnt about the importance of budgeting and planning towards a project. I never knew what the role of getting a quote was, until now. Our initial costing was over budget and we had to learn how to reduce the cost and set more realistic deliverables. Yes, I am also fluent in corporate speak now,” adds Wilson.
Another Westridge High student who participated in the Youth4Change movement, Samiley Wheatley, proudly admitted that she feels much more optimistic about her future. “I did not realise how capable I was, but now I know my strengths. I believe in myself more and feel confident to take on other challenges,” she says.
Megan Meredith, Corporate Social Investment Manager at WNS South Africa says that there are many hard realities facing the youth of today, which makes beating the odds increasingly difficult.
“Factors such as poverty, gangsterism, drug and alcohol abuse, compounded by poor schooling from a young age, all adds to the country’s high drop-out rate. This is evident in the fact that only 61% of students who started their schooling in 2004 were able to write their final examination in 2015,” says Meredith.
“Youth and education are two inseparable elements. Thus, WNS South Africa specifically chooses to focus on the development of youth through education, especially given that this area is sorely lacking in South Africa. Through our continued efforts and investment, we hope to not only make a difference in the lives of the youth, but also provide them with sustainable opportunities to empower themselves and prosper into the future,” she concludes.
WNS (Holdings) Limited (NYSE: WNS), is a leading global business process management company. WNS offers business value to 200+ global clients by combining operational excellence with deep domain expertise in key industry verticals including Travel, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods, Shipping and Logistics, Healthcare and Utilities. WNS delivers an entire spectrum of business process management services such as finance and accounting, customer interaction services, technology solutions, research and analytics and industry specific back office and front office processes. As of September 30, 2016, WNS had 31,719 professionals across 42 delivery centers worldwide including China, Costa Rica, India, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit www.wns.com.
About WNS South Africa
WNS Global Services SA (Pty) Ltd has been in operation since 2003 and has built a reputation as the industry leading Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Company in South Africa, with a growing footprint into Africa. We are a strategic partner for delivering a full range of basic to complex business processes from our eight delivery centres across South Africa, employing 4 000+ people.
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