Youth Day run to help keep kids in school

The Youth in Transformation team, from left, Ethan Jonker, Jessica Stanier, Jason Stanier, Georgie Walsh and Takalani Mulaudzi.

A Plumstead non-profit organisation plans to hold a fun run and walk on Youth Day to raise money for its programmes that help children from disadvantaged backgrounds .

The proceeds from race-entry fees will help to keep children in school, says Jason Stanier, the founder of Youth in Transformation (YIT).

“What happens to these young people who drop out? They join gangs or are unemployed,” he said. “Of the 35% unemployed, 66% are youths. Schools in poorer areas have a lack of resources with an average learner-to-teacher ratio of 35 to 1. However, 60% of these schools are in poorer areas where the rate is probably 48 to 1 in a classroom as opposed to southern suburbs schools with a ratio of 38 children to 1.”

He is referring to “Broken and Unequal: The State of Education In South Africa”, a report published by Amnesty International in 2020.

YIT’s Buntu Majalaza Scholarship helps disadvantaged pupils attend Model C schools and its tutorship programme, run from Thandokhulu High School in Mowbray, helps pupils from the greater Cape Town area.

At Thandokhulu, volunteers spend four hours each week teaching maths to Grade 9 pupils. These pupils usually go from achieving 49% to 84% over a year, according to Mr Stanier.

YIT project manager Takalani Mulaudzi said the improved maths results gave children confidence and helped them improve their grades in other subjects.

Ethan Jonker, another YIT project manager, said a spin-off of the programme was that pupils went on to tutor other pupils and were paid to do so.

“Meanwhile the students are building relationships with the kids and are great role models because they’ve been through the system,” said Mr Jonker.

He said the organisation also took the children on outings.

Georgie Walsh and Jessica Stanier, two other YIT members, run the Butterfly Project at Wildschutt Junior Primary School in Retreat where they help Grade R and Grade 1 girls and do exercises to develop fine-motor skills. They also provide the foundations for school including letter and number recognition.

Mr Stanier said 78% of Grade 4 children could not read for meaning.

Another programme is teaching robotics to Grade 7 pupil at Devon Valley Primary School, in Stellenbosch. YIT employs students from Stellenbosch University as tutors and they use Lego robotic kits.

“Some of the children had never seen Lego before so had to be taught how to build the pieces,” said Mr Jonker.

The Youth Day fun run and walk is on Thursday June 16. Entry is R100 for the 5km and R125 for the 10km. The start and end point is at SACS. Food and coffee will be available. To book, visit youthintransformation.org/r4t