The Western Cape Scouting-in-Schools team, with the support of the Africa Scout Region, recently ran a Plastic Tide Turners Challenge programme where 1830 learners and young adult leaders (Yeboneers) came together in their respective schools to clean up the playgrounds, gardens, parking lots, and the streets and fields surrounding their schools. In doing so, they contributed 3660 service hours towards achieving the sustainable development goals #scouts4sdgs. The learners were supplied with gloves, bin bags, and sanitizer through a partnership with the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town.
This is what some of the learners had to say:
Grade 5 learner Elethu lives with his twin brother and family in the township Khayelitsha in Cape Town. “I like Scouting, the games are fun, and I have learnt a lot. My favourite subjects in school are history and geography and one day I want to be a lawyer. If I be good and keep the Scout Law, I will succeed”, he says confidently. “My father was a Scout and told us about the camps and hikes. I would like to go on a hike one day soon. Today we are cleaning up our school and picking up the rubbish because it is good for our school and for the environment. I am happy to help the people here and the community.”
Alive is a grade 6 learner on a mission to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor. Alive lives in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town. “My teachers told us about Scouting and that it can help us learn many things. As a Scout I can say that is true. Scouting teaches you about life and helps you travel out of the community and hike in the mountains. I have learnt that the Scout values are important if you want to be a good person and want to be good to others. You also learn how to communicate, how to introduce yourself to someone properly and how to be a good friend to others and the environment. I tell my friends that Scouts is good if you want to fulfil your dreams. Today we cleaned up our school. This is important as we come here to learn, and it is also important for our health.”
Imraan is a grade 4 learner in Rocklands and is proud to be able to help the environment he lives in. “It makes me happy to clean up my community. People should not throw their rubbish like this. They should rather pick it up. By cleaning up today we are teaching our community how to keep our world clean and healthy. One day I want to be a fireman and in Scouting I learn about discipline and the Scout Law. To get my dream, I must stay in Scouts, be disciplined, and then I will get rewarded.”
Alexa also lives in Rocklands and is a grade 6 learner. Her cousin attends the same school and told her all about Scouting. “When I heard about Scouting I thought it would be something fun to do and a way for me to help my community. I want to be a lawyer one day and so it is important for me to learn how to be a good leader. A good leader is somebody that can help others, and whose friends always listen to them because they can tell them what is right and wrong. In Scouting I have learnt how to work together in a team. I really like the horseshoe formation ceremony as we come together, greet each other, and then listen to each other. I also like cleaning up my community. It makes me feel like I’m cleaning up the world! If I clean up my field, and somebody else cleans up theirs, then together we can make the world clean and help the environment. Every time we go to the beach my dad brings a bag so we can clean up a bit. Doing these projects makes you feel awesome about yourself. I look forward to learning more about stuff and to go hiking one day.”
When we asked the Scouting-in-Schools Programme Coordinator Mr Ahmad Solomon about the importance of the Plastic Tide Turner’s Challenge for the children within the programme, his answer was clear: “If you change the conversation, you change the society. The conversation here is our responsibility with regards to our actions and the impact thereof on the environment. If we litter, if we do not recycle, if we don’t respect the environment we have, it will have long-lasting consequences for all of us, both now and in the future. This programme teaches our learners at a young age the importance of their actions and changes their daily conversations.”