#TopCause: Educo Africa

One of this month’s Top Causes is Educo Africa in the Cape Flats. We’re recognising them not only for the dedication that they put into their profile on forgood, but for the work that they do in the communities they are present in. We interviewed them to learn a little more about who they are to share with, and inspire you!

Who are you and what do you do?

Educo Africa is a Youth Development organisation. The first phase of our programme uses wilderness experiential learning as a profound platform for young people to DISCOVER their potential. The second phase is a youth movement supporting young people in LIVING their potential, with a specific focus on social and environmental well-being.

We help to develop in young South Africans a sense of vision, initiative, contribution and personal responsibility, with emphasis on taking charge of the future through active citizenship and community building, collaborative leadership, a spirit of Ubuntu, and care for the environment.

Inter-connectedness with Nature – means for us

To treat our inner and outer nature with mindfulness and appreciation, to protect it and care for it, acting in an ecologically sustainable and health conscious manner. We acknowledge that these core values are high aims and cannot always be realised. However, they are our orientation points and we continuously strive toward them.

Our goals are:

  • Reconstruct a culture of human rights and dignity.
  • Redirect the purpose and energy of young people towards positive life-goals.
  • Counteract the psycho-social impact and further spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • Reinstate the dignity and power of survivors of crime, violence and abuse.
  • Create an understanding and supportive attitude around environmental issues.
  • Provide a springboard for people to rise above current disheartening circumstances and establish a secure direction for their lives.
  • Encourage people to recognise their own value as well as the value of others, thus enhancing the quality of relationships and interactions as well as promoting responsible citizenship.

Why did you get started?

Educo Africa started in 1994 – during a time where the country was in the transition of democracy and change. It was also a time healing and reconciling, especially for young people from various cultures, backgrounds, race etc.

Educo meanings “draw forth” in Latin. Learning… and using nature as a healing platform for people to come together and express their trauma and just pure forgiveness. Originally, the organisation solely focused on leadership programmes for young people.

In the early 2000s HIV/AIDS impacted the community. Educo Africa then designed programmes for organisations working in this sector. Fast tracking to post-2010. A question came from one of our staff members about “what happens next after the wilderness experiential programmes? What support can Educo Africa give the youth?” This was the start of the Sihambela Phambili (means Way Forward) Programme. This is a youth movement which entails active citizenship, taking the learning back to the community and giving young people the opportunity to initiate social projects.

What is a story that keeps you going?

“My name is Kholisa Kokoma (24) from Langa, one of Cape Town’s oldest townships. Growing up in Langa as child I faced a lot of social issues such as substance abuse, poverty, teenage pregnancy, and high percentages of school dropouts, crime and youth of Langa dying in each other’s hands due to Gangsterism. As a child, I wanted to become a police officer to help people until I got introduced to youth development in my teens. I dedicated myself to children and youth development to try and assistant where I could as a young active citizen in South Africa. Currently, I’m an EPWP intern at Educo Africa as a Trainee Wilderness Facilitator. I started 12 June, 2018. The skills that I’m getting here have been tremendous in such a short space of time and has helped a lot in my development.

Young person out there, what are you doing to help change the challenges the youth of South Africa is facing? I choose to lead today but together, we could do more.”

 

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