From the 6th to 8th of May 2016, AU held a leadership camp with a group of 31 high school learners who form part of the cabinet members of its school clubs. The training camp was held at the Goedegedacht Olive Farm in Malmesbury Cape Town. The purpose of this camp
was to empower the cabinet members who are already playing a vital role in their respective schools and communities so that they become efficient in the running of their clubs, mobilise more learners at school level and their respective communities.
Majority of the disadvantaged communities in South Africa are characterised by, vandalism, gangsterism, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, lack of leadership etc, the same challenges are also reflecting in schools which makes it a very difficult environment for learning and growth to take place. These schools have become a place where drugs, thugs and weapons move freely through the school gates. AU school clubs have adopted the following slogan ‘My school is my community’ as the learners spend most of their time 60% of their day at school than in their respective homes.
There is a serious outcry in the communities for the learners to change their behaviour and to become more responsible.
In response to this outcry, Africa Unite started in March 2014 a new initiative (in townships) called AU School Clubs which has been established in 5 (local) disadvantaged schools in Cape Town. The overall aim is to spark voluntarism, empower learners, give them confidence, believing that they can make a difference in their lives as well as in their communities. AU school Club is based on the belief that each club needs to formulate their own vision, be locally anchored, and solve local problems by mobilising the resources within the surrounding communities.
Each AU School Club is led by a president with his/her 6 ministers (Minister of Finance, Minister of Information and Public Relations, Minister of Sports Culture and Entertainment, Minister of Social Development and Minister of Environment.
On their arrival, the cabinet members were taken for a tour to visit an Olive Factory which most of the learners had never experienced before. During the camp, the learners got the opportunity to understand in depth the importance of AU school clubs and their roles and responsibilities as a cabinet to shape and bring positive change in their respective schools and communities. The learners also had an opportunity to learn about permaculture which is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature.
There were a lot of role plays where these learners from different 5 schools had the opportunity to interact and made group presentations, e.g. all presidents and all ministers according to their portfolio worked together and presented their future plans which they will implement at school. The cabinet members were also given the opportunity to ask some questions of clarity such as, how to identify stakeholders in the communities, how to balance and mange school work and cabinet duties, how to discipline cabinet members, the maximum number for parliamentarians in each school and their role etc.
One of the highlights of the camp was – for them to be innovative and self sufficient in order to break the cycle of poverty among them, all the cabinet members agreed to start a saving scheme within their respective schools which will be led by each minister of finance. As future leaders, the learners were also taught how to be a good leader, take decisions, how to conduct meetings and develop the agenda and keep records of their meetings and activities. In order to have effective communication and share information among different school clubs a Whatsapp group chat was created during the camp.
After the camp, the learners were thankful to Africa Unite for such an opportunity which they never had in their lives. Majority of them expressed that this was a unique and educative experience which they will never forget in their lives. They also expressed that they understood how crucial their role and responsibilities in bringing positive change in their respective schools. The training camp was an eye opener and they vowed that will
have further meetings with their parliamentarians and the school at large. The learners could not stop complementing and admiring the venue and the delicious food.
In our way dropping them at home- some family members cried just to appreciate and thank Africa Unite for taking their children out of the harsh conditions over the weekend.
Some of the learner’s parents also sent messages to thank Africa Unite, with one parent emphasising that her daughter has really blossomed as she had nothing to do before joining the AU clubs which made her very worried. She thanked Africa Unite for steering her daughter in the right direction through the Africa Unite Clubs.
For more pictures of the camp click here