We are changing the livelihood of our learners

Written by Dylan Cloete, SSA Youth Influencer WC

Zimkita Felicia (24) lives in Philippi in the Western Cape.  In 2021 she was a Scouting-in-Schools intern and ran the Scout programme at Mkhayiselii Primary School in Nyanga for 35 learners. At the end of the year the Scouting-in-Schools team went hiking in Silvermine with their interns, learners and volunteers. I joined a hike and chatted to Zimkita about her Scouting experiences.

“I enjoy working with young people”, she says with a smile. “I am from the Eastern Cape. I was raised there and understand the struggles of the youth. There are not many programmes there like Scouting in Schools and Scouting has taught me to think about my future. I now want to start programmes like this there. This is part of my 5-year plan. I will first gain experience before I start something like that. I was doing a diploma in accounting science before I found my purpose in Scouts. It helped me develop another side of me I did not know I had. Currently, I’m studying for a BA in community development”, she explains.

“The biggest challenge I have in giving the Scout programme is English. It’s not the home language of many of my learners. To make the programme resonate with them we find creative ways. One of those was about ground to air signals. I had never heard of them before but the stories and activities we did were amazing. It was fun for me and the learners”, laughs Zimkita “But the best part of Scouting-in-Schools is being able to influence the learners and steer them in the right direction. At such a young age they could do anything or everything, so they need guidance. I love engaging with them and seeing the positive impact I can make.”

As we hiked through Silvermine with some of the Sis learners and volunteers, Zimkita reflected on the adventure. “The hiking has been enjoyable so far. But it isn’t about me, it’s about my learners and me being present in the experience of the learners. I want to be their support system and their motivator. It’s about making sure my kids enjoyed it. For some of them its their first time hiking, so hopefully, now they will look forward to it.

I hope people know that Scouting is more than just hikes.  It’s the Promise and Laws used as a value system that is important. It helps us learn how to resolve conflicts and how to deal with issues. The learners don’t see where they are going but they trust the process. What I want for my learners is for them to find a safe space in Scouts and not lose their identity,” she adds.

When asked why she joined the SiS programme as an intern, she smiles. “I wanted to get involved in the community because I have motherhood inside of me. Nature and education need to be exciting for the kids and that is Scouts.
The problem today is that many children find joy in things that don’t help them like parties. But they can find joy in Scouting. The reason I joined Scouts is that I saw that there was no development in my community, and I wanted to change that. We as a youth group come together and we change the livelihood of these learners.”

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