These last few Saturdays formed part of my most engaging, fun and extra-ordinarily life equipping moments. Thank you Cannon Collins for introducing me to Steven Zwane, the brain behind YLED.
YLED is an award winning, innovative and inspirational youth skills and entrepreneurship development initiative that has been operating for a decade now!!! The organisation has managed to raise young people with a positive mindset to impact their societies. Through its strong career and entrepreneurial skill development initiatives which are run on a 28 Saturdays period, they have managed to change the ‘blame it on society/ circumstances’ mentality most young people in the world (particularly in the needy societies) have into innovative, businesses launching and career materialising ideas that contribute to the economic revatilisation, reduction of poverty and youth unemployment. file:///C:/Users/Liz/Downloads/YLED_Abridge%20Profile%20-%20Sep%20and%20Oct%202014%20final.pdf
As l sat and listened to the young minds’ ideas, initiatives and levels of growth, my eyes swelled with tears….YLED has transformed lives!!! They shared their personal stories and from it l noticed the major issues most African societies face that we all need to address. A number of young people are orphans (due to the high death rates following diseases like Cancer and viruses like AIDS which receive little or no medical attention) who have only grandparents, aunts and single mothers to look after them. Many a times they are in child-headed families which leave the whole burden of parenting, financing and support on their shoulders. This has also been an issue associated with child neglect and abandonment by the parents or guardians who are to look after them. There are also issues of tribalism/ racism which affect a number of young people as they grow up and try to work together with their peers. One of the serious issues that l learnt to be the most persisting and causing harm to the society is the issue of GENDER INEQUALITY. Most societies are still believing in the supremacy of patriarchy to the extent that a lot of females are still being left on the periphery of decision-making and their views and needs are still being frequently ignored.
It is because of these issues and some personal experience that l got so excited that YLED run projects that try and eliminate such ideologies in the young YLEDers. One of the programs they run that stimulated my interest in working with YLED is the Young Women Dialogue – ‘Young Women in Dialogue’ which is a women’s development program that is designed to provide a platform for thorough, informed dialogue between young female students and young female professionals on the challenges faced by young women in modern day South Africa and ways in which young women can navigate these challenges. This program is aimed at inspiring young women to look beyond their challenges and make a positive change to their lives and their communities and provide them with the tools to do so. As someone who have been working on gender equality projects, l saw the need for me to also offer my best in creating strong young females who are ready to collaborate in the development of Africa. Just as what Emma Watson said during the launch of HeforShe at the UN 2014 Social Good Summit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Wql0MOea0 ) and what Graca Machel articulated
It is clear that we need a world where both men and women collaborate to fight gender inequality. Every citizen should stand up and march towards an equal world.
Last Saturday we were at the St Mary’s orphanage where YLED was giving out toiletries and groceries to the charity home. What a quality time we spent with the kids…..it was an amazing opportunity. The following video highlights the fun we had at the Children’s Home