Scouting has made me a better version of myself

23 year old Jabu Hlangane doesn’t let hardship or adversity get in his way of personal growth and service to others. Despite being differently abled due to childhood Polio, Jabu embraces being a Scouting-in-Schools (SiS) intern and serving the learners at Ikhwezi Le Siswe Primary School close to his home in Khayelitsha.

“I am happiest when I am able to help children learn”, says Jabu with a smile. “Since I matriculated I have been helping learners in my area as a maths tutor. It is while I was tutoring children in my neighbourhood that I heard about Scouting and the opportunity to apply for the SiS programme. I decided to give it a try”, he explains.

“During the interview I was asked if I am able to work with others in a team. It really made me think about how I operate and I noticed that I used to do things on my own. Through this programme I have learnt to work with others and to share ideas. Now I am able to solve many things that come up with the help of others. I have also learnt how to communicate better and feel that I can now help children with these skills too. As a tutor and Scout intern I use games and play to teach children skills. They have fun and learn by doing how to solve problems and gain confidence in themselves. For example by being prepared they can tackle any challenge coming their way from questions on exams to situations in life.”

Jabu is an advocate for building resilience and self-belief in young people. “Even though I am differently abled that has not stopped me from achieving my goals in life. We were all created equal by God and just need to push ourselves to get through tough situations. With a positive “I can do it!” attitude and willingness to do your best, you can do anything you want in life! I believe that Scouting builds this confidence in young people. The programme teaches you so many different skills that can help you improve so many things, from school, to work to in your community. I encourage all young people to join this movement as it really does change your life”, continues Jabu.

I realised that it feels good to put others first and help them get to the top!

“Scouting gives you a place to learn respect and to realise how to take a step back and help others succeed too. I learnt this from our programme coordinator Ahmad Solomon. He is a very patient and kind person. Before lockdown all the interns for 2020 got together to hike up Table Mountain. I was eager to get to the top first. Ahmad pulled me aside and said come and hike with me at the back. Let’s stay here and help those that struggle to get up. I realised that it feels good to put others first and help them get to the top! That day we hiked as men and women together as equals. We are all humans and want to be treated with dignity and respect. During the Table Mountain climb I realised the importance of this and learnt that while we were journeying to the top together, we were doing so as a Group of people all following the same goal.

The past months I have continued to work with my fellow interns on raising awareness about Covid-19. I also shared the Florence and Watson programmes with learners in my area and with children further away over WhatsApp. Before Scouting I was just another person. Now I have more knowledge about things. If there is something I don’t know I can look it up and share correct answers. People in my community come to me for information now and I feel that I have become somebody important that can help others. Being in this programme has made me a better person and a better tutor. This brings me closer to my dream of becoming a teacher one day.  I’ve realised that a helping hand is a giving hand. Others have helped me become a better version of myself. So, whatever the future brings for me, I will remain in Scouting as a Scouter!”

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