A PICTURE does indeed paint a thousand words, as hundreds of Witsies signed up for volunteer programmes during the University of the Witwatersrand Wits Volunteer Programme’s (WVP) first annual photo exhibition in conjunction with Mandela Day.
WVP launched the exhibition on Monday ahead of the former president’s 95th birthday. Images of the different volunteer programmes were displayed in the Senate concourse. Written on whiteboard by students were phrases of “No crime, no rape” and “Compassion” for Mandela Day.
“Every day can be a Mandela Day if you work consistently throughout the year and do your bit for the community,” said Karuna Singh, student liaison and support officer from the Student Development and Leadership Unit.[pullquote align=”right”]”You become civic-minded when you become involved in working with other people.”[/pullquote]
“It [the photo exhibition] is a way to expose what you do and it’s a way to honour and recognise your contribution in the programmes. Only through pictures are you able to see what volunteers are doing.”
About 350 students had signed up for the different projects on Monday and Tuesday alone.
The most popular projects are those based near campus, such as the tutoring at Christ Church Care Centre, Guild Cottage and the Twilight Children’s Home. Other projects include collections of food and clothes and the soup kitchens that run during the week.
Singh said she wants to inspire other students to realise they can be responsible citizens by being civic-minded. “You become civic-minded when you become involved in working with other people.”
Third-year LLB Daisy Meyer is the logistics director of a volunteer programme, African Sports and Scholastic Initiative for Students in Townships (ASSIST), that is based in Alexandra township. She said the tutoring programme is not just about helping the kids with their homework, volunteers helped in other aspects of the children’s lives as well.
“We realise the importance of mentoring kids. There is a need for motivation. The point is education does not stand on its own,” Meyer said.
Thato Mosimo, 2nd year Mathematical Sciences, signed up at ASSIST on Tuesday. He chose ASSIST as his first volunteering programme because of his mathematical abilities. Mosimo would like to see the kids he helps in the tutoring programme achieve good marks and “to see other kids get to Wits”.
First-year BA Revonia Molelekwa signed up for the shelter, education and blood drive programmes. A volunteer veteran, Molelekwa volunteers at children’s homes and shelters in her hometown Tembisa during the holidays.
“Personally I think helping out and reaching out to people is my way of giving back.”