Saturday School In Soweto

Essentials: Saturday School In Soweto

Story Contributed by Monica Grover, Global Fund For Children.

“The school is a haven for them,” said Jose Bright, the executive director of Teboho Trust, a small nonprofit organization in Soweto, South Africa, that provides personal empowerment and social development workshops, in addition to educational support, to approximately 400 orphaned and underserved youth.

When I visited the Saturday School last week, I could see how much fun the young people were having. There were multiple programs taking place when I arrived at Teboho Trust that day. Lunch was being served to some of the youngest children, while the slightly older children played soccer in the fields surrounding the school. Everyone had on yellow or orange T-shirts representing Teboho Trust.

The older youth, in grades 8 through 12, were just entering class after finishing lunch, and as they settled into their seats, I saw that there were close to 100 young people in the classroom. Initially, Jose, who is administering the Adobe Youth Voices program, had said that Teboho Trust could train 30 youth to participate in the program, but that number grew to more than three times the original estimate. It was encouraging to see the enthusiasm for this project.

The Adobe Youth Voices class was becoming intertwined with the life skills course, and the two subjects integrated seamlessly. Jose believes that participation in Adobe Youth Voices will help the young people involved to “speak out on psychological and social issues and to develop a dialogue with other teens in different parts of the world whereby they can learn from one another.”

“Many of the youth want to have a better life and are working hard to realize their dreams,” he added. “Many lack positive and empowering environments other than Teboho Trust to help them stay motivated and follow their dreams.”

Jose strives to ensure that the young people Teboho Trust serves are competitive in the 21st century and are empowered with the computer and technology skills to be at the forefront of new media developments. “I’m expecting to see digital stories and documentary videos covering our history as an organization and stories in our communities: the folk stories, the stories of our grannies—I don’t want them to die with that. I want their voices to be heard. I want their voices to be heard because I’ve realized that their voices are empowering themselves, healing themselves, and they are going to touch other lives,” said Jose.

Jose feels that Adobe Youth Voices is a project that will change Teboho Trust by empowering the organization’s young people, its programs, and its community.