Distribution team continues support in developing essential life skills for South Africa students

October 24, 2019

“Listening is expensive because it is a skill. These past two years I have learned that my voice is my strength and it is a powerful weapon which is often taken for granted. Our voices can be used to conquer the world that is why it is important to use your voice positively because the human voice is the most perfect instrument of all.”

These were the words spoken by Thapelo Nxumalo, a Grade 12 learner from Alexandra High School, after receiving a certificate of participation in Bridging for Life, a life skills programme on October 4, 2019.

The programme was created in 2010 and is managed by Valued Citizens Initiative (VCI), an NGO founded in 2001 with the aim of developing citizenship education in public schools. It is accredited by the Gauteng department of higher education and has been supported by Tata International for more than five years.

Close to 100 learners from Alexandra High and Windmill Park High School listened attentively as Thapelo shared words of encouragement in his ‘Having a voice’ speech at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Senate House. The learners, who are in their second and final year of the programme, received certificates in recognition for the effort put into developing themselves over the past two years.

“It is part of the Tata value system to touch and do business with communities in a way that helps them to develop and grow in a sustainable manner,” said Mr Len Brand, Executive Director of Tata International in Africa, before handing the certificates to the learners.

“We aim to do business in a manner that uplifts and creates entrepreneurs and leaders, because if you create leaders, they tend to uplift communities automatically. This is one of the reasons why we continue to work with VCI. Through the Bridging for Life Programme we are on our way to creating leaders that in turn uplift their communities.”

Through the programme learners are equipped with essential life skills which range from emotional intelligence, effective communication, self-leadership and management, career development, and citizenship education to ensure academic resilience. The programme has proven its effectiveness over the years in assisting learners through the transition from high school to institutions of higher education and training.

Antonio Lopes, a learner from Windmill Park High School shared a few words. “I am thankful and grateful to VCI and Tata for taking the time to impart knowledge and essential life skills on us. From this programme I have learned to do better, to not be satisfied with mundane results and to strive to make an impression and be a better influence in my community,” he said.

The morning’s events included testimonies by WITS University alumni who were sponsored through the Tata Scholarship Programme and an inspiring keynote address by motivational speaker and author, Linda Ntuli.

Founder of Valued Citizens Initiative, Carole Podetti Ngono expressed her passion in her vote of thanks when she said, “At VCI we create programmes which generate meaningful relationships with our learners and sponsors which exudes trust, honesty, respect, love, support and care for the work that we do. CSI initiatives are all about giving of yourself, with your heart and soul to ensure you touch someone else’s life. We believe investments of this nature contribute to reducing high university dropout rates which currently stand at 40 per cent.”

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