L – R Athini, Sisipho & Neo receiving their community service awards at graduation November 2017

Students share about their community service experiences

Our Bridging Year programme prepares recent matriculants for tertiary education. We work with young people from under-resourced backgrounds who haven’t achieved the final school marks required to gain entry into their desired studies, are not adequately prepared for tertiary study and need career guidance.

As part of the Bridging Year, students are required to participate in community outreach activities through a variety of development organisations. This year 46 students volunteered more than 1400 hours at community service projects in and around Cape Town. At the recent Bridging Year graduation some students shared words of appreciation and lessons learnt during their community service.

In Sisipho Mvimvi’s words: “Community Service is when people offer their time by helping kids or members of the community without them being paid for it. After learning about what community service is, I felt so motivated to work because it could help me to gain more experience and learn more about working with people. The value of community service is to help those who are suffering in parts of life or need help. Loving, caring, sharing, discipline and respect are the things that I have experienced during my three community service placements. Dealing with people and children is not easy because you have to learn patience. The children I am working with in my community demand love all the time! I learned how to act with children and people; I now know how to present myself to them. My attitude has changed now and I am so grateful for the experience I’ve had to share all this love. SAEP has really opened my eyes through this experience.”

Sisipho Mvimvi volunteered at Red Cross Hospital, with Hope Scholars and at Beautiful Gate as a tutor. With 157 hours of community service, we awarded Sisipho with the “Community Service 2017” award.

Athini Tyani came second, with 118 hours (having volunteered at Red Cross Hospital and Beautiful Gate), and Neo Mbongo came third with 98 hours (he volunteered at Siyazakha Primary School, the Learning Gym and with City of Cape Town Sport Initiative).

Athini shared words of wisdom on how this experience changed his life. “Giving back to communities is not something we easily do as young people. I am fortunate to say that the BY programme really changed my life and made me want to do more even after graduating from the programme. I am pleased to say that while SAEP is changing our lives, we are also inspired to change other people’s lives through community service”.

For Neo “Community service made me more adventurous and I gained confidence in it. When you start community service, far from home or from your area, that becomes a challenge because you will have to spend money to reach the place, then that’s when you start to be independent. During my sessions I was afraid and scared of new people and faces, yet it was a start of life that I should experience other people’s perspectives. I enjoyed my community service and I had great time with children and other people who were participating in the project. Now I can start my own project because of the encouragement I got from the community service. I also learned to be independent and do what’s right for children and people!”

 

Application forms for Bridging Year 2018 can be downloaded from our website:

http://www.saep.org/2018-bridging-year-application-form/