Kliptown Youth Program was founded in May, 2007, by a small group of inspired and passionate young people from Kliptown who dedicated to making a difference in their community. Our dream was to help our members lift themselves out of poverty through education. From the time we began with little more than our talents, energy and a place to invite children to work with us, we have grown to an internationally recognized organization that has developed not only our members but also our staff into people with valuable skills with which they can change their own lives.
As South Africa has grown into a modern country, there are, unfortunately, still many places that are neglected by the government. Kliptown, established in 1903 and the oldest township of its kind in Soweto, is one of those places. Ironically, Kliptown has immense historical and cultural importance to the history of South Africa, as it was the place where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. Despite its role in history, Kliptown, with its population of forty-four thousand, is a community that lacks even the most basic human needs such as schools, health clinics, electricity, and proper sanitation.
Due to the absence of these basic necessities and overwhelming poverty, the children of Kliptown face immense challenges. Not only do these children have to walk to local schools outside Kliptown, they cannot afford the cost of uniforms, shoes, lunch and books. It is no surprise that many children turn to drugs and crime at an early age. In a community afflicted with an unemployment rate of 70%, an HIV/AIDS rate of 25%, and high teenage pregnancy, KYP enables children resist forces that would drag them down, harness their own potential, and grow into dynamic and skilled individuals who can give back to society.
We at KYP recognize that at the heart of these problems lies the lack of access to proper schooling. English is taught in most schools as a second language, and often it is a lack of facility with English that leaves students inadequately equipped to succeed on their end of high school 'matric' exams. KYP believes that if we identify and nurture talent amongst us, and ingrain the value of education in our members, we can create opportunities for success and the skills necessary for taking advantage of them. In doing so, we are creating a solution to poverty, and one by which we can stand up and show the world that we have value and the power to change our own lives. On a continent often wrought with victimhood and a handout mentality, KYP teaches its children that they deserve that which they create. Together we can empower the youth, foster the cycle of giving back, and help lift Kliptown out of poverty.
KYP became known to local tourist guides
One desktop computer for staff
University, trade schools, jobs training difficult for Kliptown residents to access
4 professional teachers tutor high school students
Members with high school matric struggle to find jobs after KYP
On average, only 1 in 3 Grade 12s pass matric in Kliptown
Dance programs welcome visitors to KYP
KYP members often go without meals
1 KYP staff member with post-matric training or professional development
- KYP recognized internationally thanks to CNN Heroes, 21 Icons, numerous awards. Gumboots dance team, and 1000’s of visitors from around the world
- Online learning programs for all members on over 125 desktops, Chrome books, and tablets
- 17 KYP members graduated from university (with more on the way), dozens have attended jobs training and trade programs
- 40+ tutors (both professional and KYP trained from the community) tutor grades 1-12
- Over 40 former members now employed in the formal economy
- 83% of KYP members, over 100 in total pass their high school matric exams
- Gumboots dance team travels internationally to bring KYP and our message to the world
- Food program provides all members with 2 meals per day, over 150,000 meals per year
- 17 salaried staff members
- 12 KYP staff members participated in professional development and mentoring in the past year
- Over 500 members
Education is essential for success in life, so KYP is built around our tutoring program. All children from Grade 1 through Grade 12 attend tutoring and study sessions for two hours, Monday through Thursday afternoons. The focus is on English and maths, as well as with homework assistance.
Primary school students are tutored by members of the community who have gone through KYP’s tutor training program. Not only are the tutors trained in how to deliver the content the students need help with, they are also introduced to principles of child development and how to successfully manage a class of young people.
High school students are tutored by professional teachers two days a week, and participate in peer-to-peer tutoring the other two days. Our ultimate goal is for our Grade 12s to pass their matriculation exams at the end of their senior year. While only 1 in 3 residents of Kliptown students can expect to pass their matric, our tutoring program has enabled over 80% of our KYP members to pass their grade 12 exams.
SCHOOL FEE AND UNIFORM SUPPORT
The vast majority of families in Kliptown have great difficulty affording the costs of school fees, uniforms, books, and supplies for their children. Since its inception, KYP has covered the cost of school fees for all of our members. Thanks to our friends at Tailored for Education, each child who has been a member for the past year receives a new uniform at the start of the school year.
One of the struggles of life in Kliptown is inadequate nutrition for growing young bodies, with many children sometimes not having access to even one balanced meal per day. Because young people cannot learn effectively if they are hungry, KYP provides all members with two nutritious meal a day. In the morning, the children are able to eat breakfast or get a bag lunch to take to school, and then fuel up with a hot meal before digging into their tutoring and other KYP activities.
Technology has become an increasingly important element of our tutoring program. Through programs such as Reading Eggs, Math Seeds, Olico, MyCyberwall, and 2Enable, our members are able to boost their skills with well-designed lessons and quizzes that give them practice and get instant feedback. With no access to electricity in the community, we power our center with a solar array on top of our classrooms. KYP also teaches free computer classes on internet skills and Microsoft Office to community members to help them access job opportunities.
TERTIARY EDUCATION PROGRAM
Because of the success of the tutoring program, many KYP members are well prepared for university and eager to attend it. The tertiary education program provides funds to successful students who wouldn't be able to attend without financial support. Students have enrolled in programs focused on a number of different disciplines including Information Technology, Banking, Electrical Engineering and Marketing, in programs ranging from 1-2 year certificate programs to 3-4 year degree programs. KYP has been able to support students by assisting them with bursary (financial aid) applications, and by direct financial support through Study Trust, which mentors our university students.
As they graduate from university, college, or high school, KYP members seek to enter the job market, the final hurdle they must pass in their journey to pull themselves up out of poverty. The leadership at KYP connects members with learnerships (internships) and jobs. Companies such as Tradesure Insurance, Bidvest Pureau, and many others have been helpful in offering opportunities and advice to members. Additionally, KYP members benefit greatly from individuals who come to the centre and speak about what skills, education, and training are necessary to find jobs and success in their respective fields.
PERFORMING ARTS AND CULTURE AND SPORTS
Children need to be able to have fun and move their bodies, so we reserve Fridays for our Performing Arts and Culture and our Sports programs. Members have the opportunity to express themselves through various types of cultural activities such as dancing and drumming. Our renowned Gumboots Dance group, which caters for both boys and girls, has been performing in major events around South Africa and abroad since KYP’s inception. In addition to inspiring our friends around the world and helping with our fundraising efforts, it gives our members the incredible opportunity of world travel.
Members can also choose to participate on soccer and netball teams. High-level coaches are trained to mentor kids beyond just the technical aspects of the sport, teaching life skills such as determination and teamwork. These teams compete in township leagues and have won numerous tournaments.
PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT PROGRAM
In any society there is a great need for children and parents alike to have access to services that cater for needs pertaining to family and school related issues. At KYP we have established a support centre for members of the KYP programme and their families where they can seek the advice of counsellors in a safe, confidential environment. The issues focused on are vast, and may include behaviour related issues in children, difficulties at school, family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, crime, poverty, and HIV-AIDS, to name a few. The centre also provides academic and career assessments and academic support services.
At present the support is provided by students from the University of Johannesburg who are in the process of completing either their Honours degree in Counselling or Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology.
KYP learners and community members are able to select books to read from KYP's library, which continues to grow. The library includes picture books for the younger children, fiction and non-fiction for the older students, and, importantly, many of the textbooks that learners use in their classes at their respective schools.
KYP has a staff of 17 young adults, the vast majority of whom grew up in Kliptown and faced the challenges that our members live with. We pride ourselves in having a passionate and motivated staff that sees their work not only as job but also as a way to contribute to and make change in their community.
Our organization embodies a relatively non-hierarchical structure. While responsibilities are assigned to each staff member, all major decisions regarding the future of the organisation are discussed as a team.
Staff development is a vital element of our organization. 90% of staff members have participated in professional development, with many taking multiple courses and three receiving degrees with KYP’s support. Each member of the management team works with a mentor who offers guidance and support.
Part of our mission is to train young staff members in a way that will prepare them for jobs beyond KYP. Several former staff members have gone on to pursue career opportunities outside KYP, earning higher salaries and serving as a models of success for all KYP members. We also make sure to retain our core group of key staff members who have the skills and knowledge we need for the organization to continue to run effectively.
Thulani Madondo: Executive Director
Keketso Baloyi: Foundation Phase Coordinator
Tsakani Ngobeni: Food Program Coordinator
Thando Bezana: Operations Manager
Lerato Thamae: Intermediate Phase Coordinator
Thulisiwe Simango: Assistant Food Program Coordinator
Christina Scott: Financial Manager
Monwabisi Baleni: High School Program Coordinator
Andile Mazala: Kitchen Assistant and Assistant Performing Arts Manager
Pakane Lamola: Education Manager
Thapelo Jacob Siasia: Vocational Development Program Manager
Sipho Dladla: Logistics Manager
Basetsana Lokwane: Assistant Financial Manager
Xolile Bam: IT Manager
Nelisiwe Walaza: Marketing and Communications Manager
Tshepo Tabohane: IT Assistant Coordinator
Siphiwe Mhlaba: Facilities and Sports Manager
Siyabonga Bukhwele: Reading Eggs Coordinator & IT Technician
KYP’s Board of Directors takes an active role in making sure the vision and strategic focus of KYP continues to succeed. Our board members go beyond the roles typical for their position; they use their skills and connections to help the staff and the programs develop to their fullest potential.
KYP could never do the work it does every day for the children of Kliptown if it was not for the extraordinary generosity of individuals and families from all over the world. In addition, there are many organizations, foundations, and companies that have helped in the past year to fund our programs or who have donated materials to help us with our mission. Our deepest gratitude and thanks to every one of you who has helped us reach our goals and bring our dreams to reality through your generous donations of funds, goods, and your valuable time to help us in our work!