Ukhanyo Foundation is working to better the lives of disadvantaged learners through academic support, mentorship, and access to career opportunities.
South Africa is a country plagued by endemic poverty with high rates of inequality. For many low-income children, poverty is a trap and escaping disadvantage is extremely challenging. Education is an important tool for breaking the poverty cycle, but many young South Africans lack the resources, time, and ability to achieve an education to help them get jobs.
Inadequate education and decreased productivity are primary factors contributing to low unemployment in South African youth. Unemployment rates correlate directly with decreased educational levels. In recent years, a huge surplus in available labour has made it extremely competitive for job-seekers.
A student who has obtained their matric certificate can expect almost double the salary compared to someone who has failed to complete high school.
Students living in poor communities lack the basic necessities needed for their education. Often there is not enough money at home to pay for students' transport to school, stationery, and books. One of our 2019 beneficiaries mentioned that everyone at home was unemployed. His family was fully dependent on government grants and his grandmother was sick and needed a lot of care. On days that he had to accompany her to the clinic he was unable to study or attend school. During his matric year, he was doing pure mathematics and physics without a calculator because his family could not afford one.
Many students living in townships do not have role models to look up to or proper support from their families. Because of this, they are at risk of joining gangs to find acceptance and belonging and are more likely to engage in unsafe activities and substance abuse which disrupt their studies or lead to them dropping out.
Many of the areas our students come from have very high crime rates. Students are frequently exposed to violent crimes and often feel unsafe in their communities. Two of our students were raped during their high school years and the perpetrators were never arrested because their families blamed the rape on them and never supported them to open a case or talk about the rape openly. Traumatic experiences and witnessing violence can contribute to a sense of hopelessness and lead to mental health problems that negatively affect self-esteem and academic performance.
Limited chances to succeed in life reinforces poverty and a sense of hopelessness. Students living in poor communities suffer from a lack of access to information and resources. Many students who struggle in school have access to tutors and online resources to help them, but poor students ( who receive a lower quality education in the first place) do not have this luxury. Students face similar constraints when entering the job market - without connections to job opportunities, money for transport, and knowledge about CVs and interviews, these students are at a disadvantage in finding jobs.
Ukhanyo Foundation provides a 'second-chance' multi-faceted support programme to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds who have been unsuccessful in their matric examinations. Within the youth development landscape in South Africa there is very little support for learners who have failed their matric exams.
We register students to rewrite their exams and guide them in their studies every step of the way. We provide one-on-one tutoring, group sessions, and access to online learning materials. We also provide students with stationery, textbooks, and data to facilitate their studies.
In order to help our students gain the confidence and tools to succeed, we offer life-coaching and mentorship programs. In partnership with Next-Step Coaching, we offer life-coaching sessions to help our students overcome fear of failure, build self-esteem and develop the soft-skills needed to succeed. Our mentorship program partners our students with young role-models who can inspire, motivate, and guide them throughout the program.
Ensuring success beyond after the matric examination is of equal importance to us. To help our students pursue further education and employment opportunities we provide career coaching services, computer skills training, CV assistance, and networking opportunities. Students who successfully complete their exams and go on to further their education or enter the workforce are still eligible to receive our support and continued assistance to ensure success.
A lot of things occurred at home the year that I wrote matric that concerned my family. My uncle passed away and so my mom had to travel a lot. It was hard for me to ask for money for transport, let alone ask her for money for the things I needed for matric. So, I took it upon myself to hustle for my own stuff to try and get the things I needed to complete my matric.
Nowadays, you can’t find work without matric because even the jobs that we undermine, like cleaning, or being a domestic worker often require matric. It is very important, it’s a big deal to have matric because without it you cannot do anything, you cannot find a proper job to put food on the table for your family or even to make something for yourself.
In the future, I plan to have my own company, an investment company, because I believe in giving back to the community like Ukhanyo gave back to me, that’s what motivated me to have this dream. Ukhanyo gave us a second chance. If you fail, no one wants to help you, but Ukhanyo showed us that you can believe in people.
Ukhanyo Foundation provides a 'second-chance' multi-faceted support programme to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds who have been unsuccessful in their matric examinations. Sponsoring a student through our program can change their lives and help to uplift them and their families out of poverty. By making a donation today, you are investing in a better future for our youth.