Afrika Tikkun has taken some of the youth from the poorest communities in Gauteng under its wing with the sole purpose of moulding them into some of the finest future leaders of this country.
The NGO hopes the youth will then be transformed into critical thinkers and change agents who will have the drive and zeal to change the status quo of perpetual poverty for African people through its alumni programme.
The yet to be christened programme brings together all of Tikkun’s beneficiaries of its various programmes, such as the Cradle to Career programme, in Alexandra, Braampark, Diepsloot and Orange Farm, and was launched at a massive gathering of all the alumnus at the FNB Conference Centre in Sandton.
Speaking at the launch, Tikkun’s group executive for partnerships and marketing, Onyi Nwaneri, said African people, in this country and on rest of the continent, were ‘fed-up and tired’ of being subjected to perpetual poverty.
“I want it [poverty situation] to change and I will fight to ensure it does change and change for the better. Some of you have been through our programme and gone elsewhere but we want you to come back home and be the change agents in your communities.”
She likened their returning home to a mother who never stops loving her children, no matter how old they are and whatever they become. “Afrika Tikkun is your home, it’s your mother, it’s your safety net and whenever you have problems you can return to mom’s loving arms.”
Nwaneri said that with the establishment of the alumni programme, the organisation was taking a fundamental stand against unemployment. He attributed unemployment, especially of young people, as being the catalyst for the heinous crimes and drug addiction problems being witnessed in the country.
“If the young people cannot become of the finest future leaders we want them to be, if they cannot put food on the table – then there is something wrong and our investments in them have all gone to waste.”
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She said at Afrika Tikkun they don’t give people fish but they teach them how to fish so they can stand on their own two feet. “The responsibility to change your lives can only be accomplished by you,” Nwaneri added.
She said the purpose of the alumni is, “To create a database and connect all of you to start engaging and also to use you as mentors, volunteers and champions to effect changes in the world through innovation while bringing back the values we need in our country, towns and communities.”
Once in those jobs, Nwaneri urged the youth to learn to give back as well so the organisation can continue to operate and help others too. “You can also volunteer your time to other children to tell your story,” she said.
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