The phoenix rises in Manenberg

Magadien Wentzel, far left, and project manager, Chesly Cloete, far right, are the drivers behind a youth development project involving 20 Grade 12 girls from Phoenix High in Manenberg.

A youth development project at Phoenix High School in Manenberg has not only been beneficial to the 20 Grade 12 girls it serves, but soon the school will benefit from their efforts too.

The project started last year, with a mentorship programme and leadership training and is the corporate social investment (CSI) initiative of outsource company WNS South Africa, in partnership with NPO Khulisa Social Solutions.

Part of the training the girls received equipped them to implement an upliftment project for their school, and they decided to host a Mr and Miss Phoenix pageant, where local singer, PJ Powers will also perform.

The money raised from this fundraising initiative, on Saturday March 18, will be used to revamp the school hall – the Grade 12 pupils’ way of leaving their legacy.

“With this project, the girls can’t blame poverty when it comes to reaching for their goals. The project will extend beyond their matric year, and they will have mentors in whatever field they choose to study, and even if they want to be an entrepreneur, or do an internship at WNS. Now they have options. On Tuesdays we meet to talk about burning issues and what happens in the community, and on Fridays they work on their leadership skills,” said Magadien Wentzel from Khulisa Social Solutions.

Chesly Cloete, the project manager, said his role is to see the kind of impact the programme has on the pupils.

“We are monitoring the programme, and I can say that there’s been an amazing change in the girls. When we started, they had a lot of resistance, but now their focus has changed, and they now have a sense of belonging. They are much more inspired and dedicated to their school work. They support one another through a lot of challenges, and the self-love is so evident now. Two months since the start of the project, they went from not wanting to work together, to being a family,” Mr Cloete said.

Grade 12 pupil, Albertha September, said younger children always considered her a leader, but now she can be a leader in a more positive way.

“After all the things I’ve learnt, it taught me to be a leader in a positive way. Our vision is to stand as one and to take responsibility for our actions – to make a change and set examples for the future. There is hope for young people from Manenberg. We should keep the focus on the positives. God gave us a lot of gifts, and we must appreciate what we have and appreciate our parents,” the aspiring social worker said.

Lucille Hendricks said joining the group helped her to build her self-confidence, and to be determined to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Monique Hendricks (not related to Lucille), also in Grade 12, said she does business subjects at school, and is part of the finance team of the fundraiser.

“I have an idea how to work with money, and how to budget. We need to raise at least R40 000, and I am confident we can do it, but we are also appealing to businesses to donate to our cause. We put in a lot of effort. We took bits of ideas from everyone and put it together. We are determined to make this fundraiser a success, because at the end of the day, we want parents to feel proud to enrol their children here, because the school, among others, is in a beautiful state. Since being a part of this, my grades improved a lot and my public speaking abilities and self-confidence got a big boost.

“I would like to thank WNS, Khulisa and Mr Wentzel for bringing this programme to our school. We appreciate the opportunity,” Monique said.

The PJ Powers concert and Phoenix High pageant take place on Saturday March 18, at the school hall, from 2pm to 5pm.

Tickets are R15 each for children and R30 each for adults and refreshments will be on sale.

The money raised will go towards buying new curtains, painting the hall, and mirrors in the hall’s toilets.

A plaque with the girls’ names will also be erected. For more information, contact Mr Wentzel at 079 393 9262.