Glenburn Lodge was a hive of activity, painted in red and green - Transnet corporate colours - as the Education Portfolio’s Life Skills Camp for grade eight (8) learners from the different schools kicked off with a bang on the 3rd to the 6th of October, 2014 Learners attending were from Prestige College, St Mary’s Kloof Girls College, Durban Girls College, Kearsney College, Woodridge College and Kingswood College. The aim of the camp was to get the learners in one environment, teach, see progress and engage to get feedback that will help develop a better programme in the coming year’s camp.
Transnet Cares writer, Tania Moeng, met up with Katlego Madiope, Aviwe Dyantyi, Kgothatso Sibasa, Emily Ramonyai, Tsholofelo Sambo, Thokozile Tshabalala, Salmina Moloto and Lehlohonolo Mohlue from Prestige College and got some really positive feedback and their thoughts around the October 2014 camp.
During the October camp the learners were taught a variety of life lessons including: dealing with change, self-confidence, safety and security, financial management, budgeting and resisting the temptation of over spending. “They taught us to stick to a budget. If I go to the shop to buy airtime, I must not be tempted to buy something else I did not intend to buy,” said Aviwe Dyantyi one of the Ambassadors .They were also taught creative thinking through playing some informative games that require team work. Katlego Madiope said, “we understood better through the games than if we were just taught theoretically. We got the lessons but because we are teens sometimes we don’t take them much to mind.”
The learners also had the privilege to be visited by Johannes Ruberu, an ex-member of the “Transnet Foundation Sharp Minds Group”, a programme Transnet once had which helped students with extra classes for Maths, Science and English. Johannes, who has recently graduated at the Tshwane University of technology with a diploma in Electrical Engineering, was selected as part of the top 100 in his region when he was in grade 8, after he sat for a round of selection tests.
“Ms. Moila heard I was graduating and she saw me as a perfect candidate to come and address the learners. I was telling my story, my journey, to encourage and tell them I’ve been at their level. I was just in a different programme. The programme made a difference in my life because of the extra classes and the help of the staff that came and all the help we received from Transnet back then, maybe I would not be here.” Johannes explained.
Head of the Education Portfolio, Ms. Theresa Moila was also present throughout the camp days. She took part in the activities the learners were involved in, including the high energy Zumba dance- which was both fun and helped keep the participants physically fit. Ms. Moila displayed so much passion and affinity for the learners and expressed so much hope for all learners to succeed in their studies.
“Johannes is an innovator. When we took him back then, he was not 100% smart, but he is innovative. We do not choose learners only based on smartness but because they are different. He is doing really well. He has graduated and has a great job already. These learners needed to get motivation,” said Ms. Moila proudly.
The last evening of the camp culminated in a drumming session that was enjoyed by all the young people who learnt how to strengthen teamwork through drumming rhythmically and in unison to the beat guided by the enthusiastic drumming instructor from ZAM entertainment.
The highlight of the camp was when the Group executive: HR Ms. Nonku Sishi and Head of Transnet Foundation Ms. Cynthia Mgijima visited on the last day of camp and shared breakfast with the TF Youth. Ms. Sishi encouraged the youth to make the most of the opportunity given to them by Transnet and strive to exit with a tertiary qualification from the programme. She assured the TF Youth that the Foundation will continue to offer the necessary support for them to thrive in the schools where they are placed. Ms. Sishi then engaged with each of the 20 Grade 8 youth on their school work and their lives.
As part of the consistent and structured support, the Education Portfolio always prioritises the needs of its learners. It held successful family support workshops for KZN learners, Eastern Cape youth and its 10 Transnet Foundation Youth placed at Prestige College and their families/guardians and caregivers.