This year’s Youth Day, on 16 June 2021, presented an opportunity for our LevelUP Youth Group to put into practice what they’ve learnt in the leadership development programme. It was a chance to “pay it forward” and express gratitude for the opportunities they’ve received.
Joining them were the Kindness Corporation board members, bringing some serious chopping and peeling skills, and not forgetting the fresh bread slicing know-how! VMLY&R Pty) Ltd, an advertising agency in Johannesburg that took on the revamp of our website and branding pro bono in 2020, donated 125 loaves of bread for this occasion. Freshly baked, sliced with a lick of jam served as dessert!
All descended on MES shelter, Impilo in Fairview Johannesburg and joined forces to cook stew and rice for 200 people, as well as doing some maintenance work. The group was split into two: the cooks and the painters.
The men’s wing in the shelter needed painting as it was previously a children’s wing so murals on the walls had to be sanded down and painted over. The painting team consisted of mostly girls and a few boys and the cooking team found themselves with more boys than girls …All of them focused, talented and flying in the face of traditional roles.
There was a buzz and such a positive vibe in the shelter encouraging residents to come out to chat to the teams, sharing their experiences and in some cases, offering some interesting advice.
Joshua Wyngaardt, the Finance & Administration Manager of Bossard South Africa (Pty) Ltd arrived to much expectation from the Board. We received a donation from the Bossard shareholders who pledged their dividends to Kindness Corporation to the amount of 15,000 Swiss Francs! A presentation cheque was handed over to our Vice-Chairperson, Rosemary Mvulane. “Whoops” and cheers ensued for the much-needed funding which will take on a few legacy projects. The residents of the shelter joined in the celebrations too.
Joshua addressed the group and made it clear that this donation was for their upliftment and education and that they must make use of the opportunity given and choose to participate and make the most of the programmes coming their way.
Sinnah Ramakhula, our board member who has the portfolio of institution liaison, addressed all those present and explained the significance of Youth Day in her own life as well as in South Africa today. It was a painful and tragic day yet today we celebrate the day very differently- moving forward, doing good, bettering the lives of others and staying hopeful. Wisdom from a very caring person.
The smells from the kitchen permeated the venue and tummies were starting to rumble …. Rosemary called on Rabelani, a representative of the youth group to say a few words
Using his newly acquired public speaking skills Rabelani Ramalisa thanked Joshua for the investment in the youth of South Africa promising to make the opportunity worth their while. Sindile Sitole wrote a poem for the day and presented it to the group. It reads:
It’s not just a reminder but a wake-up call
Today we breathe knowledge through young blood
Innocent with pride to strive in order to achieve
Walking tall with pride on top of a young boy
Who, took his last chance for our second chance
Young with pride Hector eterson
Lost soul with braveness
Dignity with greatness
Power with success
Moments gone but left with memories
Unlucky flower with great storm
Like the sun you appeared after the moon
You fell on the ground but like dust your words and power rose
Today we strive to provide
But stuck in poverty
Today’s dignity lost its shadow
Lost pride with respect
Young blood falling apart
Let’s not kick but strike to set a goal
Let’s not bury the past but live through it
Do we really need a reminder?
All too soon, the experience came to an end. Many happy hearts, both on the giving and receiving end. There were also tired limbs with smiles on their faces. Laughter and fond memories were made and new friendships struck.
June 16th facilitated an opportunity to do what it stands for …. Sacrifice and selflessness toward a greater good.