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Motivation Mondays: Yabonga South Africa

Today is the week before Spring break here at the Cape Town Study centre. Spirits are high, but the heads are low, stuck in books preparing for all the tests and assignments professors leave for this last week! Today we are highlighting Yabonga, an NGO we have worked with since 2010 (  The mission of Yabonga is to create an effective, sustainable model of care that provides education, support and skills development in order to empower HIV positive women and men to effect positive change in the lives of their children, families and in the communities where they live, based on the principles of positive living, personal development and income generation. But their work really transends this, and I think that the following inspiration will bear witness to my statement.

In Spring 2011, we had two students working at the organisation; Elora Way from Clark University and Chelsea Steck from Beloit University. These two were specifically assigned to work with the growing group of "out of school youth", who may have Matriculated (graduated from High School) but who have no resources to study at a tertiary institution, or youth who have not completed high school hoping to do so in the next year or so. Chelsea and Elora together developed two manuals as their Capstone final report, focussing on exploring careers as well as the educational paths related to these careers. 

Chelsea did Part one of the manual, and she looked at exploring career options. The manual gave a short description of each possible career option, characteristics of each of these career options, the educational requirements including school leaving subjects, possible salaries, potential employees as well as contact information on where you may get more information regarding a specific career choice. This was quite detailed.

Elora, in conjunction with the first part of the Career manual, looked specifically at the Educational Paths, after you have chosen your career. Here she looked at the different tertiary institutions in the Cape Town area (area specific to the learners she was looking to address); their different faculties and requirements as well as how to go about applying to these instittutions. The most amazing part of this manual was that it also had a few financial options for the students who have obvious financial limitations to them studying at these tertiary institutions.

Just last week I was informed by the Programme Manager of Yabonga, Emily Rudolph, that the two manuals were requested by the South African National Planning Commission ( to get permission to print these manuals and distribute them to all the relevant institutions, nationally!!! In addition, the Director of the Education and Training Portfolio of the NPC, has extended her sincere thanks to our CIEE Service-Learning students in her annual World Aids Day Speech; saying, “at this stage I have to thank our volunteers Chelsea Steck and Elora Way, who have spent many hours researching and producing a manual which incorporates all the information required by school leavers as they do their selection of further studies towards their chosen careers. We are so proud that this document has been identified by the National Planning Commission’s office, as one worthy to be incorporated in their strategy which will put our country back on track to fulfilling the promises made to our people when we voted the ANC into power in 1994.’

Every week, I am reminded that each of us has  our role to play and our piece to give to this world. Chelsea and Elora have achieved so much here, not without hard work, but it was definitely a stepping stone towards further growth and promise for the future of South Africa!

I hope you are inspired!


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