As part of its social responsibility policy, Enko funds the tuition fees of a number of deserving students in each of its schools. Last November Enko organised a selection session with World Vision, an NPO that works with communities to improve children’s well-being. They were helped by Ayanda Booi, a youngster who has created an NPO to help young people in the township through performing arts workshops. The selected students visited Enko Ferndale on the 9th of March, to get an impression of their future school. We asked Ayanda, who has now joined Enko headquarters, to tell us more about his career, his commitment to the Orange Farm Township youth, and the Enko project.

Can you tell us about where you come from and what you did in Orange Farm?

I originally come from Soweto, but I moved to Orange Farm years ago. Orange Farm is a township south of Soweto, on the road to Bloemfontein. I created my NPO because a lot of youngsters did not do anything after school, there were no facilities where they could be taken care of, so they hung around, and some of them ended up in gangs. In Orange Farm, there is this big issue of Initiation Schools, where kids are abducted at a very young age from their parents who are then asked to pay tuition for initiation school. But these illegal schools are the pathway to gangsterism. I wanted to offer an alternative. As I have always been passionate about performing arts, I started an organisation in 2015. I thought teaching performing arts to them would also allow them to develop their life skills. We had workshops where we would study dance, music, poetry, drama. The big challenge was to find spaces where we could gather and practice. We often practised in dumping spaces, as there were no other places we could meet. As of January 2017, we had 84 kids aged from 6 to 18 years old in our organization, at three main locations. As performing arts are not very popular with boys, I had mainly girls. Boys in the townships are more interested in football… Over the two years we have been operating, I have been developing partnerships and joint events with other NPOs to give a chance to my kids to perform in front of audiences. That is how I met with the people of World Vision.

How did you hear about Enko?

The people from World Vision told me about the Enko selection tests for scholarships to Enko Ferndale, for students in grade 7/8/9. I looked at the prerequisites, asked my kids for their (grade) reports and I sent the pupils that could qualify. I had ten kids, but two of them had parents who would not let them try the test. So, World Vision helped me organize transport for eight kids to where the examinations were held. I guess Enko did not realise how attractive their offer was. There were 135 kids attending the session! The test consisted of written tests in English, science and mathematics. Pupils who achieved high scores in these tests had an interview with an Enko representative. As I had helped with the process, I was asked to come and help them to finalize the selection. 15 kids were selected and awarded a scholarship to attend Enko Ferndale. I had to go to the families, explain to them how it would work and then interview them and send the report back to Enko. I act as the “liaison officer” with the families.

Tell me about the event on 9 March?

The event theme was “unlocking your potential”. It was a pre-orientation day at Enko Ferndale. It was difficult for them to realise that they will be only starting in September. We took them to visit the school. They were able to see how it looks like. They had a lesson there. They even got to learn some French which they repeated enthusiastically! They came to the headquarters afterwards . They met Enko’s heads of school and staff. They had career talks with young professionals. They quite enjoyed their day!

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