In the Youth Clubs, our children meet with their leaders at a club house to participate in a weekly programme, as well as additional activities. It is an unbroken rule that English is to be the only spoken language at any club event.
Meeting 1 is called “Kupa”. At the beginning of the week the children are encouraged to talk to the leaders and fellow members about what they did on their weekend and in particular if they experienced any issues or problems. We provide each child with the opportunity to speak openly and honestly in the strictest confidence.
- For the children to feel comfortable to speak freely about anything without judgment, helping them open up as they know they will be heard; and
- to give the leaders an opportunity to learn what is happening to the members outside of the club so that they can advise and support where necessary
Meeting 2 is homework supervision. We engage volunteers to assist the children and sometimes pay tutors prior to exam time, if funds allow
- The children battle when it comes to school work, especially with English and Maths. English is not their home language and Maths, to 80% of them, remains a mystery. We try to support and encourage them to believe in their own ability. Education is our main focus
Meeting 3 is choir practice. Some of the clubs incorporate the practice in to one of their meetings. Hout Bay Club has a dedicated weekly choir practice.
- The self-esteem and self-worth of many of these children is minimal. Singing in the choir helps build their confidence and also gives them an opportunity to get away from their environment when they perform. Each club has its own choir with one of their leaders chosen to be choir leader. All clubs are given the same repertoire of songs to practice, assigned by our Choir Director Dean Kagan. Our aim is to have all the clubs sing together in one Rainbow Dreams Trust choir. We are fortunate to have the skills and expertise of Dean Kagan, a former pupil of the Drakensberg Choir school, who will lead them.
Meeting 4 is the formal meeting of the week, where a variety of programmes take place. Some examples include:
- Speakers are invited to come and talk to the children on drugs, HIV, teenage pregnancy, careers and many other topics
- Each child will be given the opportunity to choose a subject, research it and then present it to the other members at the meeting. The members must then write comments on the presentation and what they learnt from it
- The children are encouraged to debate various topics themselves. The topics which come up most regularly are that of drugs, crime and poverty
- Reading English out loud to the other members
- The leaders will create programmes based on upliftment, where they will tell stories of successful people who the children can look up to
- If there has been a traumatic incident in the township, the leaders will cancel the planned programme and instead sit with the children and talk through it, allowing any emotions and accompanying questions the children may have arise in a healthy and productive environment
- To encourage the children to believe in themselves, build their self-esteem and to teach them that with hard work and self-belief, they can have the life and future they choose for themselves
Annual club camp
Every year all club members and their leaders are taken away together on a weekend motivational and fun camp.
- To reinforce the principals of the club, motivate and inspire the children to continue working hard at school and to stay away from negative influences
- To give members and their leaders the opportunity to bond and spend time together away from the township environment. In essence, we liken it to a ‘family reunion’
Annual Township Forum
The Forum was first initiated in 2012. During our camp that year we asked the children to speak out about the issues they face at home and in the townships. The result was overwhelming, with many tears as the children struggled to describe their situations and problems. We decided that we should give the children a platform to speak out about their lives and the problems they face on a daily basis living in the townships. We hoped sharing all of this would bring about some solutions and ways with which to cope.
The Forum did exactly this. At this whole day event, they were able to openly discuss their issues and receive advice from other members who were suffering from the same difficulties but had found ways with which to deal with them. We now have over a hundred children in our youth clubs and this event is proving to be a highlight of the year.
The members of each club must find a worthwhile community service project in their area where they can help. Popular projects have been cooking for the elderly living in a container in Hout Bay; cleaning all the community rubbish bins in Phillipi; collecting clothes; and singing and performing for an old age facility in Khayelitsha. It is important that the children are aware of those even less fortunate than themselves and to make the effort to assist and give back.
BEEP Table Mountain overnight hike
On this hike of adventure, the members are taught about flora, water conservation and the importance of not littering. They learn how to care for their environment and why it is important for each one of them to take responsibility for this. They are taken to a special place on the mountain called “the place of healing”, where they are encouraged to think about themselves, their lives and their future, ensuring they know that they can have a brighter future as long as they ‘stay on the right track’.