Mbuyi Yanta (28)
I encourage everyone to become a volunteer. It is very difficult to find a job. The Year Beyond programme teaches you how to apply yourself and show up. You have to be active and aware to take advantage of the opportunities, not just collect a stipend and have a nice time.
There are many opportunities to learn about yourself and to develop. This is an experimental phase where you have a year to experiment with your life. Don't forget why you joined. Give back and pay it forward for the learners.
I was a volunteer in 2016. I was looking for something to do. I wanted time out from studying. I had been working in a call centre but it wasn't meaningful work and it wasn't taking me anywhere. It was also stressful. So I went online and searched for internship opportunities and found Year Beyond.Read more
I was placed at I.D. Mkhize School in Gugulethu. There were challenges to overcome. Most learners had been referred to the after-school tutoring programme by teachers and it was hard to retain them. They were easily distracted. They escaped because they were thinking about things like 'will I be safe when I walk home?' But when we had fun activities on Fridays, they were all there!
The best thing about volunteering was that it introduced me to mindfulness, which has had a big impact on my life. This came about when we, the volunteers at the school, were given a social innovation challenge as part of our training. Our challenge was how to instill a learning culture at the school. We decided to introduce mindfulness to help learners to engage with the syllabus because you find that, while they are physically in the classroom, their minds are elsewhere. They have limited attention. The learners responded to being in the present and learning to pause before they do something.
I got so interested in mindfulness. I am now doing a certificate course through Stellenbosch University on mindfulness-based interventions, and I am also on the board of the Mindfulness Institute.
Through volunteering at Year Beyond, I got to know Action Volunteers Africa (AVA) which ran a course for us on 'Breaking Beliefs', about all the self-limiting beliefs that we have that stop us from doing things. I was not confident in my abilities. When I sat down to apply for something, I would start doubting myself. I did not have the courage to do what I wanted to. I was born in Khayelitsha and I see how many people have self-limiting beliefs. They have so much potential but they hold back and limit themselves. I have friends who are in retail who started as packers and have stayed as packers when they could do try to go further.
After volunteering at YeBo, I was employed by AVA in 2017 and I am now employed as a facilitator and trainer at Next Step Coaching.Read less