Rural Education Initiative Earns Student Third Place in Inspiring Impact Challenge
Ms Philisiwe Dlomo a fourth-year Law student at UKZN placed third in the Inspiring Impact Challenge 2021.
Dlomo who hails from the village of Mbulwane in Greytown identified the need to address the lack of sports development, information, resources and socio-economic issues facing the youth in rural areas. She founded Rural Education Development, a non-profit organisation that empowers the youth through sports, arts and educational programmes.
Dlomo who saw the call for the Challenge on UKZN’s Facebook page said she applied because of the constant need for funding to keep her organisation running. A UKZN graduate already, with her first degree a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Politics and Philosophy, she said her qualification had empowered her to better understand societal behaviour.
A former mentor for the Youth Managers Foundation - an organisation that develops leadership skills amongst the youth as agents of change - Dlomo said was inspired to start her own non-profit in her community after being involved with high school learners.
Since its inception, Rural Education Development has worked with the Department of Social Development in Greytown to empower the youth with skills; assisted five students to apply and to register at Higher Education Institutions; and conducted four programmes in sports, arts and education. It plans to branch out into agriculture projects around the area.
Dlomo listed funding, a lack of experience, being indecisive and juggling her organisational work and her studies as some of the hurdles.
‘I’m grateful for placing third in the Challenge. For the organisation and I, it wasn’t about the prize, but rather about being recognised and appreciated for our efforts in transforming our rural community.
‘As a young person running a non-profit, I have learnt to seek help from a mentor or people who are in the same space or that share the same interests. I have also mastered how to accept and learn from my mistakes,’ she said.
The Inspiring Impact Challenge is an annual campaign aimed at profiling UKZN alumni and students and providing them with the platform and support to pursue their initiatives whilst “Inspiring Greatness”.
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela