Sibasa Village, Limpopo
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Participants at the 1st event

“Promised land’’ is where the 2018 Activator, Fhatuwani Raliphaswa was set to lead the youth of Limpopo during the Community Stock-taking Summit at Sibasa village, a few kilometres outside of Polokwane, held on the 30th of June 2018. In a bid to eradicate some of the current social ills faced by the youth, Raliphaswa and Farisanani Community Development Foundation founder, together with local government officials, business sector key captains and civil society stakeholders used the relevance of the Youth Month to launch a platform called “Youth with a Mission”. The
platform sought to empower young people who are pursuing community and youth development, through the Sustainable Skills Transfer Development Program.

The inaugural event was set to link the youth of Sibasa, Ngovhela and Phiphidi nearby villages with ground-breaking opportunities that will transform their lives for good. According to Raliphaswa the event was not just a link for the youth to ground-breaking opportunities that will transform their lives for good; but was also meant to create unifying social ills advocacy strategies that judiciary, law enforcement institutions, rehabilitation practitioners and community residents can employ to keep peace and maintain order in their communities. The social entrepreneur and social change driver founder explains what prompted staging the event during Youth Month:

“The best way to commemorate the  progressive youth of the 1976 generation is to keep their dreams in our minds; and take the current youth struggle forward by starting initiatives that will ensure that as a country we catch up with the rest of the world. Therefore, as one of the enlightened young in my community, I thought one of the best progress strategies is to create community introspection platforms such as the social entrepreneurship platforms,’’ said Raliphaswa.

She went on to say, “I started this initiative to ensure that my people’s dream of a once prosperous youth in Sibasa village is not just restored, but with the restoration there also comes peace and harmony. Most importantly, I hoped this initiative would revive the ‘never give up’ attitude to my current generation, so that the upcoming generations can look at our strides and realise that life is worth living meaningfully, despite all odds.”

The event was open to all Activators and community members who were interested in participating in this local youth vision renewal initiative. They were welcomed to donate their skills, networks, resources, finances and time.

Giving an update after the event took place, Raliphaswa said: “Approximately forty young people from Ngovhela and surrounding areas attended this life changing gathering. The reaction of anticipation from the youth was moving and their genuineness regarding the lack of information in various areas, such as educational angle in terms of career paths, was extremely touching to experience.

During the discussion, people were authentic in voicing out their concerns and also the possible solutions to the challenges that they face daily. The main focus for the people was to establish an educational campaign targeted at learners from grades seven through to twelve. The campaign will aim to help them with their subjects, and alert them based on which ones they excel in, which relevant fields of study they have options of choosing from, like EMS, Maths and Science, History, and Agricultural studies.

I personally felt alarmed due to the inputs and problems that were raised; it was so heart-breaking to hear of young people abusing substances, and eventually dropping out of school. The age group was between fourteen and twenty-six years, therefore I am dedicated to making sure their dreams come true through involving relevant stakeholders, as well as assisting Grade twelve learners to apply online for their tertiary enrolment and other related matters.

The main reason I joined ACTIVATE! is because I am determined and committed to transform my community, and to bring about change that will ensure sustainability. Working hand-in-hand with other fellow Activators is one of the key important factors, in that we can join hands to make our respective communities better places to live in without fear, and by embracing freedom of speech.

Being an Activator has really enriched my life in different ways; during the training earlier this year I discovered the various assets that I possess, such as leadership, creativity, entrepreneurship and being inventive. Team building was one of the highlights that elevated me recently, because I believe that alone I can go fast, but together we can go far. Working with fellow Activators from various provinces and sectors with unique ideas really played a vital role. Until today, I don’t regret joining the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers programme.

Recently, the youth from my community have formed a committee that will ensure that the campaign continues to run smoothly, because of the enthusiasm to do well and improve the area significantly, and school management would be approached in due time before the trial exams. I am very impressed by the level of dedication that I have discovered in them. The exciting part is that the level of substance abuse has decreased; now it’s rare to find young boys and girls sitting by the street corners smoking or drinking alcohol.

By October 2018, I am planning to have registered an NPO that will be based in my area and that will engage civic members to be part of it, with the aim of making sure that this is a lifetime legacy that shall not collapse but exist to help create a better future for upcoming youth in the community. I see myself as a hero, because through me, an event of this kind has taken place for the very first time in my community, Such a thing has never happened at all. My parents and the community at large are so joyful because of the impact I have made in the area. Honestly, I am the first young lady to think and take action by making it a point that my vision becomes a reality. People never thought of this taking place at all, but through my passion for changing the community, it happened,through planning and sacrificing my time to ensure that my fellow youth are part of it, to improve their lives too. It was not easy but it was indeed worth it.

In my area there are children, young people from different backgrounds who look up to me as their role model. Being a member here and the kind of person I am has really touched the lives of many. In addition, fellow members of Ngovhela see me as a hero also, based on the hunger I have to go the extra mile in advising and guiding young people in the right path of living, to avoid regrets in the future.

By 2019, the Youth with a Mission initiative is going to be extended to areas with similar needs, in order that they may join forces with young people from other communities, with the aim of influencing youth participation. In this regard, I want to organise this kind of event annually. I strongly believe that this initiative shall uplift the lives of people and provide information by inviting motivational speakers to talk to the youth on how they made it in life, as well as how they defeated the obstacles, throughout. Furthermore, the initiative shall open opportunities when we get buy-ins from key stakeholders such as the Department of Education, Arts and Culture, NYDA, and SEDA.”