More Soweto tutoring. Photo: Bill

Photo: Sthandiwe Mchunu

With assignments, projects and tests under way, a number of Wits students are still eager to empower and give back by doing voluntary work.

Ten Wits students have devoted a day of the week to tutor school children in Soweto every Saturday. They work under Teboho Trust which helps Grade 0 to 12 pupils. The programme was co-founded by a Wits part-time lecturer, Jose Bright.

The programme started on March 5. Transport and lunch is sponsored.

Bright says Teboho Trust started as a programme aimed at empowering orphans. It was later extended to an educational support programme for children from disadvantaged schools.

Fhulufhedzani Madzivhe,  voluntary programme manager for Teboho Trust and a 3rd year BSc student at Wits, says, “It is difficult getting Wits students to join. The first thing they ask me is how much I get paid. They tell you they can’t do something without getting paid.”

The reason he does voluntary tutoring is that he enjoys helping others. “Teboho helps me reach 200 people a day, while Wits tutoring allows you to help one or two pepeople at a time.”

One of the tutors, Nelisa Cata, a 3rd year BCom student, says she has always believed that she has  a social calling. “The dearest thing to my heart is education. The dearest thing to South Africa’s heart is South African education.” That is why she gives back by teaching pupils.

Bright said Wits students are surprised at what they get from it. “They are growing confidence, public speaking and communication skills as they address a class.

“Through the tutors, the kids get role models. They like that the tutors look like them and it makes them feel like they can do it too.”

Cata describes the kids they teach as intelligent, but they have doubt and lack confidence. “It’s just that they have never had a platform to articulate and voice their opinions or no one has had the chance to listen to them, but they know things.”

Cata says the moment she got to the school “it felt emotional and overwhelming to see what happens in the world outside my own”.

Madzivhe says, “After the first session tutors feel good inside having helped someone from the heart – not for money.”

The children’s parents came to thank them, saying they see improvement in their school work.