Recently, Sparrow Schools Educational Trust received an invitation to a Meet and Greet event with the Charities Aid Foundation of Southern Africa (CAFSA), in order to connect with like-minded individuals within the nonprofit sector. It was an exciting opportunity to learn more about CAFSA and the work they do, as well as to be able to meet different people with a similar vision to impact lives and make a difference in South Africa.
The aim of this event was to engage with CAFSA in a conversation about how we can share ideas and collaborate, as collaboration is a vital tool in building a sustainable and impactful change in South Africa. Whether collaboration is with corporates, CSI teams, individuals, government or other organisations within the nonprofit sector, ultimately we all have the same social justice mindset, and the vision to improve our country.
As part of the conversation, CAFSA has asked us to answer a few VOX pop up questions to be used in their social media and marketing. These questions were focused on social justice, and we wish to share our answers with our audience:
Why do you think a strong civil society is so important in South Africa?A strong civil society also allows us the platform in which people and organisations are able to advocate for the things they believe in and to solve problems in their communities. We believe that transformation for South Africa begins with its people, individuals, and communities. If we all believe in the same positive vision for the future then as a country we can do great things together. We believe a strong civil society is for a number of reasons, specifically
as an NPO where the non-government and non-profit organisation space has been a huge support in building up the economy. Based on a nonprofit statistical approach since 2017 there were 120 227 compliant NPIs operating in South Africa last year, that is a large number of compliant non-governmental organisations and institutions that were built for the sole purpose of some sort of social justice scheme they wish to support.
What more would you like to see action in order for us to achieve a stronger civil society? We need to support organisations and people who can help rebuild people’s confidence, especially those who try to improve schools & education, the government, the environment or whatever their communities need As an organisation, we would like to see a more focus made in the education sector, the youth and the underprivileged in South Africa. We need to bridge the gap and be part of the transformation to provide access to education from the most basic level. South Africa has made the effort to provide higher education to the youth of South Africa but at the same time, basic education for those who are disadvantaged should be highlighted and job creation prioritised for those receiving higher education and training.
Let’s also build on what people are already familiar with, this way we help them take ownership of the process of improving their communities (eg) Unemployment. You also need to make sure that everyone has a ‘voice” from the unemployed youth who has just graduated to the mother who cannot afford to send her child to school.
As Q1 of 2018 closes, what initiatives/partnerships are you particularly excited for in the rest of the year? The launch of the YES Program (Youth Employment Service) – YES is one of the first social compacts between government, business and labour created to give one million youth one million opportunities to succeed, while securing South Africa’s economic prosperity. Together with our FET programmes, we are able to impart technical skills and capabilities to young people and assist with work programs to provide experience
As an organisation, we wish to partner with this initiative as we believe we have a similar vision and goal and we believe that we can provide support to the government as well as receive support in order to build this initiative and assist our youth to reach their full potential. A joint partnership with CAFSA is also very exciting and your support would help us become more beneficial to our country and community.
What role does, or could, your sector play to strengthen civil society? Within the Non-profit sector, it can be said that we are able to strengthen civil society through communities and individuals that work with the purpose of building up young people and focusing on issues that we have in our country.
We believe this sector is a core aspect of the transformation of South Africa because the NPO sector can reach and affect the lives of individuals sometimes more effectively than government or with the support of the government. In terms of our organisation: Sparrow Schools. We have 3 schools established within our organisation.
- The Sparrow Foundation School caters for learners with cognitive disabilities and barriers to learning from preschool to grade 7 who have been previously disadvantaged.
- Our Combined Technical Skills High School also caters for learners with barriers to learning but also provides a streamlining pathway to our Sparrow FET College where students have the option to continue their education at TVET College that caters for their specific skills. All our institutions have been Umalusi accredited and we believe this ensures that we continue to provide efficient and quality education to our students.
- Our Sparrow FET College solely focuses on the youth of South Africa and we hope this provides support to strengthen our civil society as the youth is the future of South Africa and we hope in some way that our organisation will add value to the country as a whole.
We are able to reach cognitively disabled and disadvantaged youth who have the desire to learn a skill:
-We are able to provide learners with theory, practice and a real-world application approach to skills development and training.
-We are able to link graduates with industry by assisting with internships during which they are fully supported, comprehensively trained, and prepared for future employment.