By Novell Zwange -JOHANNESBURG – The UK-based business tycoon, James Makamba pre-launched Ibbamo Foundation’s Africa chapter at a glamorous event recently held at The Venue in Melrose Arch. The pre-launch party attracted scores of celebrities, captains of industry, opinion leaders and various stakeholders, Author, designer and speaker on the issue of Personal Innovation, Timothy Webster also graced the occassion as guest speaker.
IBBAMO an acronym for (Inspired By Barack And Michelle Obama) is a non-profit organization limited by guarantee, founded by Makamba in 2009 and has registered charity status in both South Africa and the United Kingdom. The foundation seeks to invest in the future of South African children through empowerment of young people of high school going age, by providing them with innovative multi-dimensional programmes that build capacity.
The organization’s key objective is to empower young South Africans and allow them to capitalize and make use of the various opportunities that this foundation will create for them. This exercise seeks to enhance the quality of life and create employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people, through the provision of mentors, skills development programmes and education in its broadest sense. The expectation would be that once these young people are equipped with the necessary skills and information, they would be in a firm position to solve the challenges facing their communities, and become a force of internally driven development.
Programme Director, Agnes Hove Chiweshe said the foundation currently has private funders and is open to more role players coming on board not just financially but skills wise. “As a foundation we feels that such an initiative will impact a lot of children from disadvantaged backgrounds hence we are looking to increase our pool of mentors by inviting professionals in non traditional fields like photography or even plumbing. The thing is there are lots of children whose real passion and dreams are never realised because of improper career guidance and the lack of a full support mechanism for these children to follow their real dreams and not what society dictates”
The foundation will soon be rolling out its first leadership training program in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West where 100 grade 9 students, aged between 15- 17 years in each province will be identified and taken through an extensive leadership development program for five days, and a one day study skills course. The students will be assessed at the end of the program and assisted with the development of a career plan. They will also be required to draft and implement a community development project that will impact their community. These will be assessed, and prizes awarded for excellence. The students will be required to identify mentors who will work with them. A limited number of those who excel in this program will be awarded scholarships.
“This programme will amongst other things emphasize the importance of developing and uplifting one’s own community and discourage the current trend where a young person’s aspiration is to be educated and leave their township communities to go and live for example in Sandton or Rosebank. We are saying let’s cultivate a culture of community leadership where we nurture and produce community leaders who will champion development and growth in their own communities,” explained Chiweshe,
The foundation is calling on volunteers to come on board and be a part of the foundation’s programmes, support the cause and possibly sponsor in anyway they may deem necessary.
“The key message we want to put out there is to say let’s take charge and act on the current challenges faced by the youth in high schools, and because they are about to get to tertiary level it is therefore key that we make that phase smooth and appropriate towards what they are passionate about. Challenges like unemployment, despondency, poor planning for the future, peer pressure risk, often destroy a potentially solid skills base hence Ibbamo Foundation has designed multi-stakeholder youth development programmes to complement current efforts by government and private stakeholders in building a strong youth capacity base.” Chiweshe said.
She said, “As Ibbamo Foundation, we have high expectations of the young people who are our beneficiaries. Through our programmes, the Ibbamo Foundation is committed to ensure that all beneficiaries achieve a high enough standard of achievement to have real options either to progress to higher education or follow the career path of their choice. As future leaders of the continent, young people have an important role to play in the future of Africa and that alongside the structured education curriculum there is a need to foster a socially responsible leadership mindset from a young age.”