Transforming Communities, Changing Lives 


Celebrating Young People

Posted by Martin Keat


In South Africa, the actions of young people are celebrated during the summer. A time to remember back to the 16th of June 1976, when the youth of South Africa decided to take action against the Apartheid regime which was forcing schools to teach all students in the Afrikaans language. 20,000 black students protested against having to learn through Afrikaans in school and up to 173 people were shot to death by the police. It is a time to commemorate and memorialise that the youth has a voice that should be heard.

This reminded us our work with the dynamic youths who come from various backgrounds and have different stories to tell. With such significance to the day, surely the new generation has a cause to live for. This cause is to live up to their best potential. After realising that no one can tell their stories better they can, our service users now take charge of the change they want to see happening in their CBO’S (Community Based Organisation). It is as if these youths have taken on the mantra of ‘Be the change you want to see’ a slogan that is frequently used on South African media to encourage the youth.

Thulani, one of the Youth Committee members, was excited to tell us about the difference they are making and their current initiatives at Leth’ ithemba Safe Park. He mentioned how they are taking film making seriously, as well as continuously working on their acting and dance routines. It doesn’t end there though. The youths are taking action by seeking help to assist undocumented child immigrants who are struggling to get admitted into school in their community.

“We have encouraged the kids to voice out their needs by writing letters to the president. Although we have always been aware of the hardships that most children go through, seeing their level of need in writing has really brought these stories to life. One child wrote to the president, asking to be protected from men. This was a cry for help, something that she has been afraid to share with her family as she was being abused by her uncle, but she was too afraid to tell her mother. This is the type of information we get to discover when the children use creative methods such as drawing and writing to express themselves. There is still a lot that needs to be done to help these children, I could say that we are their only hope. It is hard dealing with such critical issues, as we are also fighting our own battles in life. But seeing the difference that are contribution has made keeps us motivated”- Thulani          


Even though they have their own needs to attend to, these young people are doing selfless acts. Children are learning so much more, exploring different extramural activities that align with their talents and interests. These young people have made it their mission to contribute to the Safe Park activities, as these work to boost their confidence in themselves and their communities. Above all else, our youth has found purpose in their circumstances.

The Bishop Simeon Trust continues to support young people to be involved in decision making, building skills for their futures. To donate to youth projects in Gauteng, please follow this link to our giving page.

 Written by Lerato Mofokeng

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A big part of our work here at the Bishop Simeon trust is committed to assuring that children and young adults in South Africa are able to challenge and conquer those obstacles in their lives that prevent them from accessing education and assuring that they can  make the most of the potential they possess to thrive and build a positive future.