By City Year Staff
Every July, South Africans hear the call to give back in service to our country in honour of our late President Nelson Mandela. Given the historic connection between the establishment of City Year South Africa and NTata Madiba, it’s a call that the organisation takes to heart, leveraging transformational service as the means for visible and meaningful community engagement. Numerous events took place during the month of July in 2019 including a service day at Tshilidzi Primary School, Lyndhurst Primary school, an Early Childhood Development Centre in Soweto and also included a joint service day with the Obama fellows of 2019 and the Obama Foundation at the Zandspruit Primary School.
Transformational service visibly demonstrates what citizens can do when they work together for a common purpose. Described by one Service Leader, Jenine Scott who took part in a number of the month’s service events, “People worked beautifully together and we all had one goal in mind; to make a difference.”
Whether the events hosted more than a hundred people or were much smaller in size and participation, the objective of the days was to leave behind a transformed space that could be enjoyed by the beneficiaries of the service experience and leave lit-up faces and smiles behind.
Many of those serving for the first time were inspired to see what a difference can be made in a short amount of time, when many hands get to work. “Wow, I had so much fun today. I can only imagine how excited the children will be when they come back to school” posted Obama Fellow, Titilayo Ogunrinde of Nigeria on her social media.
For City Year South Africa, service days such as these allow youth the opportunity to lead and serve as project managers which is key to the growth and development of programme participants. “The experience was a great opportunity and I am appreciative of being able to take part in such initiatives, making an impact in the lives of people and community as a whole,” said Kheswa Nokuthula, Service Leader 2019. City Year South Africa’s service leaders do a full-time year of community service and go through the programme’s work readiness programme. The programme leverages service-learning as the means for developing youth and is registered as a National Youth Service Programme with the NYS.
Service days are just a small part of the year long programme, as Service leaders are placed in service sites, consisting of various schools, ECD centres and NPO’s for six months before they move on into the work placement internship with various corporate partners for the Amathuba Work Readiness component of the programme, which runs from October to November.