Abiel Biza, an aspiring Neuro-Surgeon, is a medical student at the University of Pretoria and the Programme Coordinator at the Mamelodi Initiative. He joined the organisation in 2015 as a volunteer, led by his passion for community and youth development. Abiel continues to excel in his academics whilst paying it forward through his work in the organisation.
Established in 2007, The Mamelodi Initiative is a collaborative effort initiated by young people who are devoted to bring change to the community of Mamelodi and its youth. The Mamelodi Initiative provides resources to enable community engagement and improve access to education. Thousands of youths have benefited from Mamelodi Initiative’s programme offerings, ranging from computer literacy to sports and holiday camps.
We spoke to Abiel to learn about why he continues to volunteer in the After School sector.
What inspires you the most and motivates you to thrive in your role?
What inspires and motivates me the most is bumping into a learner that I once taught or even saw at one of our programmes at my Campus. Being part of that journey; watching a learner transition from being a learner to being my peer is truly inspirational. When I look back at my journey, I have fond memories that drive me.
I remember the first time I volunteered to teach at a holiday programme, I taught a young lady called Rachel who was in grade 9 at the time. Although full of potential, she was very quiet and kept to herself. Rachel had exceptional writing skills and I remember in one of her entries she spoke about how she wanted to become a Charted Accountant one day. Fast forward a few years later; I was walking on Campus and I bumped into Rachel. She ran to give me a hug. She told me that she was studying to become a CA and that she was doing really well. I remember tearing up. It has always been such an incredible feeling knowing that I could have a positive impact on someone’s life.
As a youth leader, what do you hope to achieve through the work that you do?
I honestly wish for the learners in our communities to aspire for something more. To aspire to be great in whatever way they can. To break free from the socio-economic chains that hold them back from being their best self. And I believe we can achieve this through bridging the education gaps in our communities.
In your opinion, what is the significance of celebrating youth month, especially in relation to children and education?
Celebrating youth month allows us to reflect on a difficult time as a country and where our education system comes from. It allows us to truly appreciate and value the education we have today. Fundamentally, celebrating youth month reminds us that anything can be achieved if we, the youth, are united and work together towards a common goal.