Buffalo's young changemaker
By Tabisa Mntengwana
17 July 2012
COMING from a family that loves giving back to its community inspired 24-year-old Baxolise Dlali to set up his own community outreach project.
And that attitude has brought international attention for Dlali, who was named one of 60 Global Changemakers by the British Council. The programme's mission is to empower youth to catalyse positive social change.
Dlali describes himself as a passionate, service-driven person and a sportsman. This drive to help those around him led him to establish Masifunde Together, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in 2006. The name means "let us learn together", which is what the groups' founder wants to achieve: a society that learns and grows together.
At heart, it is a community outreach programme that works to empower young learners through improving the quality of their education. This will ensure their success benefits the nation.
"Masifunde Together helps young people with extra tutorial classes where volunteer facilitators help learners with effective ways of studying and learning," he explains.
The programme gives career guidance to the learners, and it works with the provincial department of education "in ensuring that learners work towards a 100 percent pass rate in the matric exams".
"Currently Masifunde Together has 10 tutors who help over 60 learners from various schools in the Buffalo City area, including Hudson Park, Claredon, Philemon Ngcelwane, Masixole High School, and other schools in Duncan Village and Gompo."
Along with academic education, the organisation focuses on teaching the youngsters life skills, among them their learner driver's licences. "Since our inception we have taken students from local universities and colleges to help them with heir learner's licences . We give the learners lessons on the rules of the road and everything that deals with the learner's test," adds Dlali.
Masifunde Together has a strict programme that includes afternoon tutorials, a study programme, learner's licence support and coaching programme, and basic computer training. "These are the programmes that are vital to one's success in this day and age. My aim is to help young people to be successful in life," he explains.
"As Masifunde Together we want to encourage the community to be involved and volunteer their skills in order for the youth to obtain their success."
Regarding challenges, Dlali says his NGO's main concern is funding. "Our biggest challenge is funding that will help us take the project to the next phase."
He was selected one of 60 Global Changemakers for his work, out of 1 500 applications worldwide. As a Global Changemaker, he attended the Euro-Africa Youth Summit from 22 to 28 June in Brussels, Belgium.
According to the organisation, Global Changemakers is "a vibrant community of young activists, volunteers and social entrepreneurs".
It unites people from more than 120 countries, and is a place to share experiences, build skills, apply and test ideas and access opportunities. "Global Changemakers are at the forefront of running innovative projects in their communities, shaping policy and speaking truth to power through access to institutions and platforms such as the World Economic Forum," says the organisation.
It is a project of the British Council, the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational and cultural relations. It creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.
The seven-day trip to Brussels was a life-changing experience, Dlali says. "With the theme of the Euro-Africa Youth Summit - The World is Changing - I could not help but question myself about the change which I wanted to see in the world we're living in today. Either way, I know the change I want to see in the world begins with me and not with someone else."