What a glorious season it has been. Seeing great things happening in our Education system has been the most fulfilling thing ever.
One of the things that has been on my heart is to encourage our children and young people to dream big. What shocked me at the school where I was teaching was discovering that learners in Grade 5 had never heard of UCT (University of Cape Town). They didn’t even know where it was. Even when I had shared with them that a University is a place where people further their studies they didn’t associate it with themselves. They often called it my ‘school’ since I had shared with them I was furthering my studies at UCT (and moved to Wits beginning of last year). One of my plans was to arrange for a trip so that I could take them around Higher Learning Institutions in Cape Town, but it never happened.
About a while ago I was walking on Campus at Wits and I saw a group of very young kids that looked like grade 3’s being oriented around Wits. I was so moved by this and tears filled my eyes when I realized how much we have been failing most of our children because only a minority of our children have access to these lifetime opportunities. Our children go through schooling as a program not with a mentality that is filled with dreams for the future, and one of the most contributing factors for this is exposure in our communities. Most of our children are raised in child headed homes and are surrounded by adults and peers who don’t see value in education. At grade 3 already advantaged kids would start dreaming about what they want to become in life. Not only that, they could also start focusing on their strengths and be directed to the fields that fit their individual desires, strengths and personalities. This beautiful sight moved me to remember my promise to the children in my school in Cape Town I had promised to take on a University trip. While making arrangements I started to face some challenges some of which were that these learners are now scattered all over the school and outside. While I was still in the midst of my planning, a young man I am mentoring who is now a second year student at Wits suggested that we take learners from his previous High school and he made all the arrangements with the principal as he was on holiday and happened to be in Cape Town during the time I was making plans. So last year in June I took a number of learners to UCT, CPUT, and UWC. Below are pictures of these learners (we had just arrived at UCT), in the second one they are sitting in a lecture hall picturing themselves in the years to come.
TAKE A STAR CHILD TO UNIVERSITY
Fortunately, the person from whom we hired transport is a professional tour guide, so he made the trip a bit longer and more interesting explaining the history of Cape Town some of which the learners were hearing for the first time. When we got to UWC which was our last stop the learners did not want to go home and were sharing how much the trip was an inspiration to them and how encouraged and inspired they were to make it in their studies so that they could explore their future further.
Society continues to be faced with many growing challenges which especially affect children and young people. One of the ways we can motivate our young people in schools is by exposing them to a possible life that they can have outside of their communities on condition that they push against the tide of a whole lot of pressures. It also doesn’t help that while we try to motivate learners we have teachers who don’t do what’s expected of them in the process robbing our children.
Another initiative that I have started is doing motivational talks to school learners sharing my life story. Last year I approached a colleague who teaches at a girls’ school and asked if I could go and motivate the girls he was teaching Science to and he agreed. Fortunately he had to go somewhere so it was just me and about 60 girls so we were able to share girl to girl. I shared my life story with them and almost half the class started sharing their stories very openly. One of the things I had emphasized on was how I had to forgive everyone who had violated (abused, used, hurt etc) me and how it was possible but through a process of my own personal healing first ( I had openly shared about how I got born again and how the knowledge of Jesus Christ had helped me in the process). One girl shared a story of her father who had been in prison, and how the whole family had had to deal with him and his behavior and how she had to make a decision to not let the situation get to her. Another shared about how she decided to not do well at school any more because everyone had these high expectations of her that she felt if she continued to set the expectation and then not do well everyone would be disappointed in her and it would break her down, Imagine! Another shared about her mother whom she said had fallen pregnant with her at a very young age and was blaming her for not being able to continue with school to an extent where this mother didn’t care about her and her grandmother had to look after her (this girl cried very bitterly as she was sharing), by this time almost the whole class was crying. I was holding my tears because I was trying to be strong for them. Quite a lot of them were not interested in furthering their studies, one shared that she had a baby that she felt was now her responsibility and so she would rather look for a job after finishing her matric. Some were saying that many young people change when they go to university, they start to do drugs, get drunk and so on. In all this my message to them was each individual is created for a specific purpose and individuals make decisions in life that determine the direction of their lives and so they should not make decisions based on experiences of other people but they should seek to find out what is their purpose and pursue it, if their pursuit is genuine they will be divinely guided and will fulfill their destiny.
My highlight on this day was when one girl came to me afterwards and cried bitterly saying that she realized how much she had taken God for granted. She had been born again and had not been living right and had not been doing well even with her studies and had been afraid of sharing her faith with others, but now she was realizing that she doesn’t have to hold back any more and that she had to take responsibility for her life. At the end we had a moment of prayer and I could just feel the atmosphere changing.
This year I met one of the girls from that group at Wits and she’s studying to be a teacher. She’s the one who spotted me and greeted me and when I asked her to remind me where we met she told me I had done a motivational talk to their class. That day I was so encouraged and excited I didn’t even know what to do with myself.
So…have you considered taking a STAR CHILD TO UNIVERSITY so that they have something to look forward to outside their current world?!
HEAL THE WORLD, MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE, FOR YOU AND FOR ME AND THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE!!! (In memory of Michael Jackson)
GIVE OUR CHILDREN A SENSE OF PRIDE AND DIGNITY, SOMETHING THAT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM (BESIDES JESUS) GIVE THEM EDUCATION THE KEY TO THE FUTURE.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15