Internship goes local
Who knew that German students working with kids, and recruiting other overseas volunteers to join them week after week, would have such an impact?
Watching students from Germany, some not much older than themselves, give their time and energy to come and work with kids in South Africa AND without being paid...in fact paying to come...sparked lots of discussion among the youth in Fisantekraal.
These youth are not strangers to the idea of giving time and energy into the community - they've helped us with camps and kids clubs inside and outside Fisantekraal since 2010. But this, for them, was a whole new ball game. And for one young man it helped him figure out what he was going to do after Matric.
Marno, or Lano as he is known, lives in Fisantekraal with his mother & sisters. He was part of the youth forum and drama group. As his final year at school progressed he spoke more and more of taking a 'gap year' because he wasn't sure what he wanted to do. Since he wasn't sure of which direction to head, he decided not to go study something just for the sake of studying. A wise move considering the cost of further education.
After watching him over the year and hearing his heart for vulnerable children, we decided to talk to him and his mother about him taking his gap year as an intern with us. We began the conversation around November; explaining that we had no funds from which to pay him. But, we could help him figure out his study path, give him whatever training we had access to, and give him lots of opportunities to explore working in different aspects of the work we do with kids. And, we would try to find money to at least give him some pocket money. In December 2012 he finished Grade 12 and passed reasonably well.
At the beginning of January we went to talk to him and his mom again and Lano joined our team. Our first local intern! The first task we did togther was to visit the Dept of Education to help Lano register to redo 3 of his subjects to give him a better aggregate result. He registered to do 2 supplementary exams in Feb/March and 2 at the end of the year.
On top of his studies Lano took part in the Steps to Abundant Life training course and was with us at the HSRC's launch of guidelines for counselling and testing children. It was fascinating having him there - hearing the perspective of one of SA's "born frees" who has gone through the school system. He was (still is) a group leader at the kids clubs. He also helped lead groups and activities on camp and in Darling. In fact, it wasn't too long before he was planning and leading the kids clubs. He was part of the i am special school team and went through Resilient Kids training. Oh, and he helped with Afrikaans at the study clinic too!
He was, and will remain a great asset to our team in Fisantekraal. He helped establish and grow links with the parents of kids who regularly attend kids clubs. We are really blessed to have Lano on the team, and are grateful to his mom for giving us the privilege of having him intern with us. He recently said that the year helped him grow in many ways.