By : Kay-Dee Mashile
2016 Activator Bawowethu Jonas is truly an active activist! Being born and bred in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, and raised by a single father who lived off a disability grant is one of the many motivations behind his newly founded NPO, Masincede. The circumstances of his upbringing often led him to feelings of hopelessness and discouragement. However, he was determined to rise above the situation and make a life and name for himself and his family. Moreover, Bawowethu notes that his situation did not only make him want to build a better future for himself, but it was also the foundation for his activism. He says that the challenges he faced led him to wonder about others like him who may have lost hope along the way.
Lack often leads to difference and standing out which often leads to low self-esteem and bullying among children. For instance, a child who cannot afford the prescribed school uniform can be mocked and made fun of by other children, to a point of dropping out of school. With the reality of the South African family being that most children grow up with only one or no parents at all, we cannot leave the responsibility of providing for such children to their parents. We, as activists, must stand in the gap and advocate for help. Masincede!
The NPO aims to do just that, offer help and advocacy for those in need within the community of Motherwell. In addition to that, Masincede aims to restore the hope of young people who may have given up due to the difficulties they face in their daily lives. Masincede’s main purpose is to ease the difficulty of attaining an education for those who need it most.
Bawowethu speaks of cases where children go to school in one pair of jeans and a colourful t-shirt because they do not have anyone to buy the prescribed school uniforms for them… of children who carry one exam pad where they have to write all their school work because they cannot afford to buy books and stationary. Another common challenge being that some children go to school having had nothing to eat since they returned from school the previous day… Masincede!
Bawowethu and his partners, Boniwe Lanke and Nosipho Williams, as well as Nhlanhla, another 2017 Activator who availed himself to work with the Masincede team are planning to run programmes that will speak to self-confidence and motivation for learners. In addition to this, the team is running various donation drives for school uniforms, stationary as well as cosmetics and sanitary products. Outside of the school environment, Masincede is committed to running a home-based intervention where they will run food donation drives and seek the necessary help for the challenges faced within the children’s home environment. With regards to this, the team would like to have a breakfast feeding scheme where the children will be given food before they go to school. All this can only be done with the help of the community and ACTIVATE! network.
The immediate plea of the team is that at least ten young people within the City of Port Elizabeth kindly avail themselves as volunteers for the practical running of the programmes. However, Bawowethu and his partner hope to make the Masincede NPO a national and continental organisation. Therefore, if you have noticed that these challenges affect your community as well and you are willing and able to put together a team of at least ten young people to run Masincede within your community, do contact the team and make this a reality!
You can help the PE team by collecting and/or donating anything from old/new stationary, school uniform, textbooks, new school books, cosmetics (deodorant, lotion, bath soap, etc.), sanitary products, non-perishable foods (canned foods, pasta, rice, etc.) and breakfast foods (juice, tea, coffee, cereal, etc.). Please contact Bawowethu and his partner on the contact details listed below for details on how you can donate these items (even if you live in other parts of the country) and any other items that may be useful to the children and their families. That said, you can also donate other clothes and shoes that aren’t related to school wear. The challenges faced within our communities must be tackled holistically, so if you can offer a once off service or skills training for the children, also feel free to contact the team and discuss how you can be involved in helping.
Well, the reality is that we cannot always help as much as we desire to, and that is okay. If you are unable to donate or volunteer, please do share this information with everyone in your network and have them share it as well. Masincede and let the whole of South Afrika know about this so that we can all help the team as they help the children in Motherwell, South Afrika and the whole of Afrika. Sitsho islungu, it all begins with you… you are the drop that is to cause the ripples of change you wish to see!
For more information, please contact Nosipho Williams at 073 8040 951 or follow her on Facebook Nosipho Williams.