A group of fifty high school learners, across schools in Gamagara, spent their April school holidays together participating in a leadership development programme. This cohort of enthusiastic youth,travelled to Soetwater Environmental Education Camp near Kommetjie, Cape Town, as part of a leadership development programme.
“The camp exposed these young people to many new and exciting possibilities relating to personal development, as well as helping them to strengthen their personal leadership abilities and provide a positive framework as they journey to adulthood,” said Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for REISA.
The REISA Angels Youth (RAY) Leadership Holiday Programme is an up-liftment initiative that has evolved over the last three years, into a holistic self-development and self-actualization platform for the Ubuntu Schools. Its focus is to promote inclusive, equitable quality education by providing equal access to education and healthcare. These interventions challenge the learner’s school of thought through robust conversations and activities.
Bonolo Mosimaneg, a teacher from Sishen Intermediate Mine School who joined the group, added, “What an exciting experience for our learners! They learned a lot regarding leadership and teamwork. The knowledge that they have acquired is very interesting and important. They were involved in various activities that took out the best in them and showcased their strengths and potential.”
Whilst the RAY programme involves a mixed gender group across grades six to ten, from all the Ubuntu Schools, the fifty participants of this particular leadership holiday programme, were selected by the Ubuntu school’s social workers and school representatives.
“Constant negative influences, toxic masculinity and other gender-based problems are prevalent amongst our youth in general, but even more so in the communities where poverty and inequality are at the very core of the problems, which can have detrimental effects as our children develop.
This makes it even more critical to engage them in activities that are positive, appropriate and relevant to their age, and that can leave them with new ideas and skills and also feeling hopeful, confident and energized,” explained Isaacs.
Schools represented at the RAY holiday programme included Langberg High, fifteen learners; Gamagara High, seventeen learners; Sishen Intermediate High, seventeen learners.Ranging between the ages of 14-16 years, these youth delved into personal development lessons based on a range of pertinent topics including Gender Based Violence; Toxic Masculinity, Personal Development; Climate Change and many more lessons, which were incorporated into fun and environ-centric activities.
One of the participating learners, Simosihle Sebolaaneng, from Sishen Intermediate Mine School,commented,“The ‘Creepy Crawley’ show cleared up many of our myths relating to snakes, plus we learnt a great deal about the value of nature and other conservation topics.”
The programme included daily personal awareness sessions on the beach; environmental education including bird-identification trails and coastal environment exploration; Hikes, tidal pool explorations, games, sports, a trip up Africa’s tallest lighthouse – the Slangkop Lighthouse at Kommetjie; a special showing of the Academy Awards Oscar movie “My Octopus Teacher”; and a fun Potjie competition.