Previously disadvantaged pupils receive major boost

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: Co-founders Tabisa Mntengwana and Amanda Fononda with pupils from Sakhikamva High School in Nompumelelo Picture: MARK ANDREWS
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: Co-founders Tabisa Mntengwana and Amanda Fononda with pupils from Sakhikamva High School in Nompumelelo Picture: MARK ANDREWS
For years pupils at rural schools and from previously disadvantaged backgrounds went through their 12 years in school without any idea of what they were studying towards.

But Sela Emthonjeni, an East London-based non-government organisation, has been on a drive to prepare high school pupils for “life after Grade 12”.

Founders Amanda Fononda and Tabisa Mntengwana have been at the forefront of youth development through education.

They take East London pupils through a series of careers and life skills in their quest to open them to career choices they might have not chosen.

“We founded this NGO in 2011. After leaving Johannesburg to relocate back to East London we realised there was such a gap when it comes to education and knowledge of life after grade 12,” said Fononda.

In its inception, Sela Emthonjeni has focused on East London townships, giving career, communication and life skills advice to pupils. But over the last couple of years they decided to change their approach in order to have more impact.

“We realised that our impact would have greater longevity if we focused on and ‘adopted’ one school for a year. Starting from 2015 we adopted Sakhikamva High School in Nompumelelo, targeting Grades 10 to 12 pupils,” Fononda said.

The inclusion of Grade 10 pupils allowed the NGO to assist them soon after subject choices, giving them an eye into potential careers linked to their choices.

The goal for the NGO is to take the pupils away from the “day dreaming’ zone to a “reality zone”.

Fononda, a public health worker by profession, is dedicated to seeing the pupils achieve their goals.

“The pupils are able to open their eyes to the reality of becoming engineers, pilots, journalists, business people and so on. Nothing is impossible with the hard work and commitment,” said Fononda.

The NGO administrates their programme through the school’s Life Orientation (LO) classes.

Sakhikamva’s LO teacher Neziwe Ntenjana said the NGO had made a huge impact in the pupils’s lives.

“My pupils see that there is a future for them after high school. This programme has encouraged them to do better,” said Ntenjana.

Please sign in or register to comment.

X