After hearing the personal story of a few SAWIP team members, learners were tasked with creating collages which reflected their own personal identity.
Camille Fredericks (SAWIP Team member 2013)
On our journey as change agents and servant leaders, we find ourselves on a mission to add meaningful value to the lives of others. SAWIP presents us with an opportunity to do just that by giving us all the tools we need to develop our own sustainable community service project. We were given the task of deciding on how we can make a difference in the community of Robertson.
This was a daunting task as we were posed with all the challenges the Robertson community faces, especially their youth. The issues of drugs, alcohol abuse and despondent youth, are challenging for us as a team to face, but made us determined to want to change what we could! We were fired up and ready to take on all the problems of the world only to realize to our dismay that we are human, we have a budget and time constraints. These constraints assisted us with focusing on what impact we really wanted to make in this community.
Lageberg School Hall: venue for the first days session.
We were able to narrow our engagement down to one objective: imparting our leadership skills to a group of future leaders. We developed a two day leadership course to implement at the Langeberg Secondary School in Robertson, with the school’s Representative Council of Learners (RCL). The RCL is made up of 15 learners, 3 from each grade group. In this way, the project, we felt, would gain sustainability, as the learners would take what they have learnt in the workshops and share it with their peers in their respective grades. We hoped for a ripple effect where youth empowers youth and the scholars of Langeberg Secondary School become a community of leaders.
The first workshop encapsulated vital leadership skills such as self-awareness, responsibility and accountability. For the purpose of the workshop, we defined leadership as an expression of our willingness to engage in the issues and challenges we see around us and encounter in our spheres of influence.
Day 2: Tour of Stellenbosch University
The purpose of the interaction, with these already identified leaders in their school, was to help them understand who they are and the positive possible influence they have on the lives of their peers. It was important for us to bring the message of choices, possibilities and endless opportunities across to the learners. We did this by having three of our team members share stories about how they overcame adverse circumstances by making use of positive opportunities, which life presented them. We then took the learners on a journey of self-awareness by helping them better understand themselves in order for them to understand those around them. The first day of the workshop was focussed on gaining this self-knowledge and understanding of what leadership is and how they can make use of it in the leadership roles that have been entrusted to them.
The second workshop day we took the learners on an excursion to Stellenbosch University to give them an idea of what they could expect when they go to university. We also introduced them to students who are from their community that have either attended or currently attend Stellenbosch University.
On our first workshop day we expected the learners to be apprehensive. That would have challenged us to gain their buy-in, but, they were welcoming and as enthusiastic as our Team. They were engaged throughout both sessions but found that the exposure to people from their community the most inspirational as that really gave them hope of possibilities.
Community interaction has always been a part of our lives as individuals, but SAWIP has strengthened this inherent need to serve others by its focus on community service and by giving the Team the opportunity to attend a short course in Leadership through Community Interaction, at the Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Student Development at Stellenbosch University. The course equipped us with the necessary skills to develop our workshops and gave us clarity on how to be community servants through community in,teraction rather than saviours.
To read more about Langeberg Leadership Series click here.