From September 26 to October 7 a group of international volunteers will cycle more than 640 Km through South Africa to support and fundraise for Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) in the Soweto Township outside of Johannesburg, which offers educational support and future perspectives to the children of the township!
Founded in early 2007 by a small group of inspired and passionate young people around Thulani Madondo, a CNN hero from Kliptown/Soweto, dedicated to making a difference in their community, Kliptown Youth Program’s (KYP’s) vision is to eradicate the poverty of mind, body, and soul and to fight against the disadvantages imposed on the children of Kliptown, by providing educational support and after school activities. It seeks to develop young and dynamic individuals who are willing to contribute effectively for the betterment of their community.
KYP’s tutoring, athletic, and arts programs provide a life to the children of Kliptown not defined by survival, but by the ability to be active community members, to have dreams, and most of all to have hope about the future.
As South Africa has grown into a modern country, there are still some places that are unfortunately neglected by the government; Kliptown, the oldest township of its kind in Soweto, established in 1903, is one of those places. Ironically, Kliptown is of immense historical and cultural importance in the history of South Africa, as it was the place where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. Despite its role in history, Kliptown with a population of forty-four thousand, is a community without even the most basic needs such as schools, health clinics, electricity and proper sanitation.
Due to the absence of these basic necessities, the children of Kliptown face immense challenges. Not only do these children have to walk to local schools outside Kliptown, they cannot afford the cost of uniforms, shoes, lunch and books. It is no surprise that many children turn to drugs and crime at an early age. In a community afflicted with immense poverty, a high unemployment rate of 70%, a HIV/AIDS rate of 25%, and teenage pregnancy, KYP enables children to harness their potential and grow into dynamic and skilled individuals who can give back to society.
KYP recognizes that at the heart of these problems lies in the lack of access to proper schooling. While English is taught in most schools as a second language, it is not always taught in a way where the students are adequately equipped to succeed in their exams taken at the end of high school in English. KYP believes that identifying and nurturing talent amongst each other, and inculcating the culture of education can create positive opportunities themselves. In doing so, they are creating a solution to poverty. On a continent often wrought with victimhood and a handout mentality, KYP teaches its children that they deserve that which they create. Together they can empower the youth, foster the cycle of giving back, and help lift Kliptown out of poverty.
To support this valuable project I will join a group of international volunteers to cycle more than 640 Km through South Africa, create awareness for KYP and fundraise to help them achieve their mission.