Change Driver, Karabo

What drove you to be an Activator?

I was working as a Media Communications Officer. A  journalist suggested that I should apply. It was interesting and new to me so I wanted to know more.

How long have you been doing it for?

Since 2012

Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?

I was encouraged by a story I read on GroundUp about a girl who didn’t have money for sanitary towels and had to use rags and newspaper. I realised that I needed to start making a change. We did some research within the community on why girls were dropping out of school and work and found out that for many of them it was because of their menstruation. They would be too embarrassed to go to school or work.

In January, we started the Sanitary Pads Campaign to raise awareness that allows us to provide sanitary pads to learners and people in the community.

We also work with young people and have separate round table discussions with girls and boys to talk about issues affecting them; health issues like menstruation and stereotypes. With boys, we make them understand why girls have to go through menstruation. We then put the two groups together so that they can engage with each other.

We want the youth to influence policymakers and ensure that pads are available in schools in the same way condoms are.

How has ACTIVATE! supported you in driving change?

ACTIVATE! has supported me so far in driving this change by supporting me and giving me information on how to open an organisation, drafting proposals and constitutions. We want to partner with other Activators who are also involved in our cause and start a national organisation. The Washline methodology specifically really assisted me and I also became more confident when drafting proposals and presenting my ideas. The most important thing I learned through ACTIVATE! is that I cannot wait on government to make the change I need to do something.

What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?

Active citizenship is very necessary. Not only in South Africa, but across the world because it drives change. People should be active in community events and have dialogues with decision makers, be involved and encourage participation with counsellors in communities.

Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?

The voices of youth are not being heard in government or in organisations. For example, the constitution says that everyone has a right to education but when students are marching peacefully for that right they are shot but the police who are meant to protect them. It seems like the only thing  government has heard is the violence.

Do you think that youth is doing enough?

Young people are doing everything in their power to be heard, but the government does not hear them when they are peaceful. We don’t have young people in parliament representing us and we need that.

How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?

Municipalities should be the first ones to be accountable because we voted them in power. They should be responsible for problems that are facing communities.

What was the Walala Wasala experience?

It was a good and interesting experience that proved to be very beneficial.

What topic did you cover?

We encouraged youth to register and highlighted the resources that we have in our community such as clinics. We also spoke about ways that can be used to increase youth participation.

What were the results?

On the day of the shoot we went to a youth clinic in the community to film parts of the show, someone at the clinic saw me and asked for my number. After the show, I got a call from the youth clinic requesting that I provide sanitary pads to them. So far we have provided them with many packs and we are forging a relationship.

If there is anything you could have changed in the experience what would it be and why?

There should be a DVD of the show that can be taken to relevant organisations to show them what is happening in communities. I believe that many vital conversations can be born. To drive that change ourselves, we are planning to call young people after they have watched the show to find out how they interpreted the show.

Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?

To young people in Africa, apply! ACTIVATE!! is where your ideas and dreams are born. It’s a programme where you meet young people who have the same vision as yours and this accelerates change.

 How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community?

By hosting dialogues with youth in Khayelitsha. We are also hosting a sleepover in the streets for members of the community so that they can experience what other people who sleep on the street experience. Another thing we are doing is actively tackling the fact that the refuse in many parts of Khayelitsha have not been collected in two weeks. We are setting up meetings with local government to deal with this issue because it is a health risk for those that live around it.

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