By: Marianne Williams
Published: Monday, 27th July 2015
I’m sitting at my desk, listening to the songs of a child…so sweet and so innocent. A little voice taught not to be silenced by abuse.
I knew volunteering at an NPO would be rewarding in terms of personal growth, but never imagined I would learn so much in such a short period of time. Vodacom’s Change the World programme paved the way for me to open my eyes, heart and mind to those voices that have been silenced by life’s challenges. Doors to hope and healing for many survivors are opened thanks to counsellors at Hope House. This is why I feel more than blessed for this life changing opportunity, one I grabbed with both hands. The need to expand counsellors' reach, is no longer a question that lingers in my mind. Visiting one of the three schools where I will carry out my project, allowed me to see the yearning for something positive in our community. I believe my goals took on a greater significance after witnessing desperate mothers, fathers and even grandma’s seeking guidance to help a youngster escape from the clutches of drugs. A traumatised rape victim who didn’t know who or where to turn to, a recovered addict who needs support to stay clean, the list goes on and on. Our community, especially the youth, needs support to withstand the pressures and challenges of life. I had no idea about the specifics of my project, but knew I will walk out this dream and vision God placed within me.
Shocking as it may be, many learners want to say no to those bad elements but choose to be a people pleaser out of fear of being “uncool.” Others want to speak out about a problem they face, but choose to say nothing because they are afraid of being judged. Youth does not instinctively grow into healthy adults, instead they need guidance and motivation to be able to say no and make better life choices. For this reason, my ultimate goal is to use the newspaper as a platform for learners to voice their opinions and develop self-management, social and academic skills. I know this journey comes with a lot of ups and downs, low-lights (what I call my challenging moments) and highlights, but my objectives have become a lot clearer. Being part of such an amazing CTW team and working in an emotionally friendly environment at Hope House is what dreams are made of. Can you hear me singing…..Sweet Dreams Are Made of This! Volunteering is definitely an admirable pursuit we all should do at some point in our lives. I cannot thank Magda and Vodacom enough. I am geared up to Go! "