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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We Need Rain - The Inkwenkewzi High School Environmental Youth Club At Work in Mdantsane

Youth clubs can play an important role in the Mdantsane Commuity.

Prince, a member of the environmental youth club at Inkwenkwezi

Melikaya Buti is a Xhosa, but he grew up in the Gugulethu township in the Western Cape. He came back to the Eastern Cape a couple of years ago and holds now the position of a project manager for education and training at WESSA. Very soon he will start a Master's degree.
" My childhood in Gugulethu was similar to the way the kids live here in Mdantsane. I know very well what it means to grow up in a township environment. I was a member of several youth clubs when I was a child. It helped me stay on track and keep away from destructive activities, Meli says." 
He is in the position today to give back to the community. He does it with his full heart and a considerable amount of passion. Meli coaches the environmental youth club at the Inkwenkwezi High School in NU 6, an organisation consisting entirely of volunteers.

Melikaya Buti

"The message, that I want to bring across to the young people, is that if you take care of the environment and minimize your footprints, that you leave on the environment, you do it for yourself and for your own future. I always tell the volunteers, you do not do it for me, for the government or for Mdantsane. You do it for yourself and for your future. Nobody is forced to work with me. The earth is our future and we have to take care of it as we take care of our families".

To recognize the interdependency between man and the earth is not always easy to understand for the communities that have been deprived and been considered under-privileged for many years.

TheYouth Club

"The best point to start is to educate the youth about environmental issues and waste management. Waste is the biggest environmental problem in Mdantsane,' says Meli

The environmental youth club undertakes a wide variety of activities on the school ground. The vision of the club is that  through their actions and their example other young people from the school will join force with them.

Theresa, The German volunteer and Mr Amoah, the school principal watching the interview with Meli
  Melikhaya says that the never-ending support of the school's Principal Mr.Amoah is of great value to the  club. The support of the other teaches is essential. They have to be implicated in the process because they are the direct link to the children. Meli visits the school once a week, sometimes even less, but the teachers have the capacity to guide the children and encourage them to continue with their activities.

The WALL OF FAME in the Youth Club's Cottage
A clear structure and a set of rules have been established for the club. The club meets regularly in what is called "The Cottage" to discuss their activities and their plan of action. The Wall Of Fame shows a picture of each member.

The German Volunteers Jonas and Theresa

And we especially love the cross-cultural component of this project. The German Volunteers live in Mdantsane with guest families and their role is to facilitate the activities of the environmental youth club.

The club's rules 

Some volunteers have even used more drastic measures to clarify what is allowed and what is not inside the cottage............

Burning environmental issues have been recognized by these young South-Africans

and the cottage is a place of creativity.


One of the first activities, that Theresa and Jonas, the German Volunteers started with the volunteers was to paint a beautiful wall mural on one of  the school's buildings.

Seen from a distance you have to look twice to see where nature ends and the mural starts!


The Principal

Theresa and Jonas in front of the mural

Theresa and Jonas will still stay several month in Mdantsane. We are looking forward to see more projects of the club.
"It was not totally easy in the beginning Theresa" says,"because the life here is very different from Germany but now we have adapted to the Mdantsane way of life".

Bruce Lee showing us a lemon tree planted by the club

South Africa proudly presents! And may be others will get inspired by the clubs vibe and join!

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