In 2012, Transnet (SOC) Ltd implemented the Transnet Foundation Orphaned Youth Education Development Programme (OYEPD), a programme targeted at academically gifted students. The programme’s objective is to promote a culture of academic excellence in South Africa by providing comprehensive educational and psycho-social support to orphaned youths in strategically targeted areas.
A total of 10 learners qualified for the pilot project and were successfully placed in grade 10 at private schools by the Transnet Foundation’s Education Portfolio. Towards the end of 2013 the second phase of the project was rolled-out and after careful consideration, the selection criteria were amended, requiring learners to be enrolled from grade seven. A total of 20 youths aged between 12 and 14 years, from rural communities and township schools around the country qualified to be placed in grade 8 as part of the 2013/2014 OYEDP.
Before learners are placed in top performing private schools around the country, they are required to go through a 7 days life skills coaching session to to prepare and wise them up for the new environment. ‘’The workshop helps ensure that the new students cope with the challenges they might face and also become strong decision makers who can solve problems. It also prepares the youths to make informed decisions about their life,’’ Senior Manager: Education, Theresa Moila said.
In order to instil an appropriate value system and prepare the students for a culture shift in the new schools and the new environment, a life skills camp was held at Misty Hills Hotel in Muldersdtift. The camp ran from December 5 to December 12 2013 with one day set aside for purchasing of all necessities at a budget of R10 000 for each learner.
Topics included self-awareness, values, making friends at school and dealing with peer pressure. All students are provided with cell phones, introduced to the use of social media and matters such as time management, study skills, conflict resolution and budget management. Other social issues that affect learners, like drug and alcohol abuse, and how to deal with bullying were also addressed.
The camp was not confined to the site grounds only as the students were presented with the opportunity to honour the former late president Nelson Mandela, given that the camp took place at the time the nation in mourning for Tata. The youths visited the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Tata Mandela’s Houghton residence.
Part of being in the OYEDP is for the chosen candidates to become Transnet brand ambassadors. An induction session into Transnet was top on the list and culminated in a welcome ceremony attended by Transnet GCE, Brian Molefe, Transnet Foundation Head, Cynthia Mgijima, Theresa Moila and other senior managers within Transnet.
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