Pupils dare to dream

Unathi September from Inspire Foundation Group; Bloubergrant High School teacher Rondalia Marks; Dare to Dream founder Sabine Clappaert and AfrikaCAN Foundation chairman Athenkosi Nzala.

“Dream big, be passionate, have grit and perseverance!” That’s the message Bloubergrant High School pupils received last week.

The Dare to Dream Leadership Institute for Girls held its second annual event at the school on Thursday and Friday last week and over 700 pupils took part over the two days, including the boys this time.

Dare to Dream is a non-profit founded by Sabine Clappaert in 2013. It encourages girls to follow their dreams, inspire others and achieve their goals.

On Thursday, some 450 girls, including pupils from Bulumko High School in Khayelitsha and LEAP Science and Maths School in Philippi, attended.

Guest speakers were actress and author Buhle Ngaba, co-founder of mobile beauty application Beauty on TApp Mathebe Molise, and 19-year-old motivational speaker and student Masake Maleka.

Ms Masake shared her story and some advice for success with the girls. She said: “With every platform, you are given, make sure you show up and that nobody underestimates the power that you have.”

Petunia Thulo, one of the directors at Dare to Dream, said it was an honour to have the school host them for another year.

This year the organisation partnered with AfrikaCAN Foundation, a non-profit that offers mentorship and learning platforms to young students.

“This opportunity to be able to also offer boys the same inspirational talks we give to girls is indeed a step in the right direction.

“As Dare to Dream Leadership Institute for Girls, we believe we are stronger when we stand together as a collective,” she said.

At the boys’ event on Friday, Athenkosi Nzala and Unathi September spoke to about 300 boys from Bloubergrant, Bulumko and LEAP about personal development and seizing opportunity.

Mr Nzala is from Zwelitsha in the Eastern Cape and is founder and chairman of the AfrikaCAN Foundation.

Mr Nzala told the boys that having the right attitude was important on the road to success.

Young people should focus on developing themselves, but not simply to get through school and get a degree, he said.

Mr September is another Eastern Cape-born young entrepreneur from King William’sTown. The 29-year-old is the executive director and co-founder of Gradesmatch, a personalised mobile application that helps high school pupils navigate higher learning institution admission requirements, financial aid and subject choice.

Mr September advised the pupils to find the simplest solutions to problems faced by their communities. He gave the example of Ludwick Marishane, who invented the Dry Bath, which became a water-saving initiative. And Richard Turere, an 18-year-old from Kenya, who, when he was 11, invented a solar-powered light system to keep the lions out of his family’s cattle pen.

Bloubergrant High’s principal, Malcolm Pedro, said the school’s slogan for the year was, “Let’s make the dream a reality.”

He added: “I find it fitting that we also have Dare to Dream here with us to try and help the pupils realise their dreams.

“Often, young children get influenced by negative things in their communities and this is why I feel that we need to use schools to expose the youth to positive role models. This positive re-enforcement is important.”