You’ve just got to your last two years of school; you need to plan for your future but don’t really how to neither go about it, nor do you have a mentor; a good place to start looking for help would be the Bokamoso Cross Mentorship Programme.
Established in 2008 by Itumeleng Merafe, Tshepo Hlongwane, Tebogo Moalusi, Siphiwe Hlongwane and Tumi Mokhothu, Bokamoso “strives to enhance the knowledge of those young students that want to start early with their future plans”. Bokamoso means “future” in Setswana.
The Bokamoso team aims to “mentor, inspire and unleash” the potential young people need to succeed; to help guide youngsters to realise their dreams the organisation works with them under themes such as leadership; personal development; academic performance and careers; social responsibility; and history, culture and heritage.
“We want to make sure that you see the available options for the future you want to build and to show you that working with others is better than working alone. But mostly we want you to be, and do, the best you can in everything that you take part in,” said Merafe, speaking at the Bokamoso Youth Development Programme in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Saturday 15 March 2014.
The event, for Grade 11 pupils, included talks from Shireen Ramjoo, founder of For the Future Lady, an online career guidance hub, and Simone Lingenfelder, founder of Lighthouse Coaching and Youth Development. In the event’s career skills component, students worked on their own motivational speeches and put together business plans for small businesses.
“We have to make it easy for the youth to understand what exactly we’re doing here and each of our activities need to be fun, innovative and memorable,” said Merafe.
DESIGNING THE PROGRAMMES
Bokamoso’s programmes are designed to be understandable and easy to use; each programme involves hand-picked mentors who speak on leadership and personal development, and the organisation’s other themes. The programmes also include activities that encourage youngsters to think about their academic performance, careers, and social responsibility, among others.
The organisation works with members of the Young Professionals Forum, recruiting bright young minds from industries such as IT, marketing, advertising and financial services, among others, to mentor the students in its programme.
Bokamoso believes that hearing stories of personal success will inspire its members to chart their own pathway to success.
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND CAREERS
The programmes’ academic performance and careers component targets works with students to realistically identify which careers they want to follow and how to work towards them, while building the pupils’ confidence.
The social responsibility component encourages young people to work at their careers, while building and supporting their communities, through cooperation.
HISTORY, CULTURE AND HERITAGE
Believing that “To know where you’re going you need to know where you’re coming from” Bokamoso encourages the students it works with to value their history, and research their cultures and heritage.
A BOKAMOSO SUCCESS STORY
Buyisile Dlomo, from Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, attended a career development workshop and has since qualified as a beauty therapist. Hers is just one of Bokamoso’s many success stories.
Dlomo says she was looking for inspiration; “I am a positive young lady from Alexandra, and first heard about the organisation on a community radio station.”
Subsequently, she attended the Alex is not so far from Sandton workshop, where mentors work with young attendants to see a way out of poverty.
“The organisation has played a big role within youth of Alexandra by offering different skills workshops, career guidance, job placement, talks on entrepreneurship and leanerships. Today I am a qualified beauty therapist thanks to Bokamoso. I am very proud of what they do for my community. They have helped helpless people and they also give hope to young people of Alex. God bless the organisation. I wish that they can expand and have more branches,” said Dlomo.