The Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach programme (WCCO) is looking for Wits students to assist with extra tuition for learners in underprivileged areas. The WCCO is endorsing over 20 outreach projects including tutoring programmes ASSIST and Mihandzu so that Witsies can participate in community work.

“The WCCO facilitates support and training for volunteer leaders and tutors. It is amazing to see Witsies recognize their role as community builders, working in this case, to improve the educational outcomes of learners in communities,” said Karuna Singh, senior programme advisor at the WCCO.

Singh said, “Many student volunteers are interested in and have started-up community projects focusing on tutoring and career information for high school learners.” ASSIST is one of those projects, chaired by Wits student Sandile Mthembu, which focuses on the academic, professional and personal development of learners from disadvantaged backgrounds particularly from Alexandra township.

“In a nutshell, we ask students from Wits University to volunteer to teach English, maths and all other subjects to learners in Alexandra for free,” said Mthembu. ASSIST targets about 50 learners from Grades 8-12.

Mihandzu is a non-profit organisation which focuses on educational development within poverty stricken communities, especially at JB Matabane School in Ivory Park.

Member and co-founder of Mihandzu, Khanya Memela, postgraduate 4thyear Accounting Science, said “Education is a mess … We focus on mathematics, given the dire state of mathematics in our country and the need for mathematical professions in our country.” This year the programme has about 300-400 learners to manage, with an estimated number of about 30 tutors.  to about 30 tutors.

“It is open to the entire school not just limited to the Grade 8s, this is to give them exposure about various opportunities available to them.”

“What we found over time was that learners don’t know what they can do, they don’t know what is possible. All they know is the next grade and the teacher in front of them,” said Memela.

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GIVING BACK: Wits students Sandile Mthembu and Khanya Memela are both making a difference in their communities by tutoring learners from Alexandra and Ivory Park respectively.                                                                                          Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

This article was originally published on Wits Vuvuzela here 

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