Reflecting on my journey with enke
We’re proud to share the experience of Claudia Penny, 2011 enke: Forum Delegate from Cape Town, who’s written about the impact being involved in the enke: Youth Award has had on her.
At my school, the Interact committee organises voluntary events at least once a week. These events allow any one of the 1000 students at my school to make a difference in the lives of children, adults and animals chosen as beneficiaries. Of 1000 learners at the school there are, on average, 9 volunteers at each event – and it’s usually the same 9 people every time. These statistics shock me, but I am ashamed to admit that I had volunteered to be one of these 9 people just twice. It’s not that I didn’t want to make a difference, and it’s definitely not that I don’t care. The truth is that I was lazy – I was very lazy. I also never believed it would make any difference anyway. I was just one person, right?
I reflected on these things during the 5 days at the 2011 enke: Forum. At the enke: Forum, I met a large group of people exactly like me, but many had a passion for helping people and making a difference. Connecting with them, being equipped with leadership and entrepreneurial skills and a huge amount of inspiration showed me that not only was I wrong, but that I was very wrong. One person can do anything (I promise you!).
Running a community action project (CAP) and being involved in the whole enke experience has been one of the most incredible learning curves. For my CAP, I decided to start a small class teaching design and raising awareness of social issues. Working with a small group of 15-17 year-olds, the goal was to create t-shirt designs around social issues and these t-shirts could be sold, which would also spread their ideas in a creative way. I thought I was teaching the group, but I also have learned a lot from them. This group of young girls has shown me so many things; from giving me tips on my own designs to insight into living in different circumstances to my own.
Of course I should mention that the seed funding I received from enke has helped an incredible amount with my project. Receiving seed funding will let me complete the final phase of the project in the upcoming weeks, which involves the buying and printing of the t-shirts. I have also received a small amount of sponsorship and mentorship. Sponsorship from JUTA has allowed me to make a start with a nice amount of stationery and the mentorship I’ve received has given me a large amount of inspiration and a security blanket when things get hard.
There is nothing more to say other than that getting involved in enke has changed my life. Simple empowerment has shown me how powerful one person can be, that anybody can do anything, and that determination is the fuel of all things.