North West school shines in youth entrepreneurship education
Tong Comprehensive School, situated in Ganyesa village, North West, is leading the way in youth entrepreneurship in their region. The school’s enterprise club, Tong Young Entrepreneur Society, recently started manufacturing furniture items to add to their previous work including beadwork, steel and wood ornament pieces.
Amongst their new products, the 60-learner club, which was established in 2015, makes braai stands, toilet roll holders, trophies, pot stands, study lamps, bathroom cabinet sets etc. They also refurbish desks from old and damaged ones.
One of the club’s leaders, Motlhasedi Mochware, says they realised that they had an opportunity to use the multiple skills that the learners have, to create something and empower themselves while also helping the community at the same time. “Being a technically orientated school, a majority of the learners in our school have great skills and can create things using their own hands, so we seized that opportunity,” says Mochware.
The school entered the 2016 Eskom Simama Ranta School Entrepreneurship Education competition, where they were crowned the North West provincial winner. This was a remarkable acknowledgement of their brilliant work after being in existence for only one year.
Simama Ranta is the Eskom Development Foundation’s annual competition which aims to recognise South African secondary schools that excel in entrepreneurship education. All South African intermediate and secondary schools can enter the competition. The main requirement is that the schools must have enterprise clubs that teach learners the basics of running a business.
As a provincial winner in the competition, Tong received R50 000 in prize money. They established their club to equip learners with entrepreneurship skills and to encourage them to create jobs and alleviate poverty in their community. The club uses its profits to improve the school’s infrastructure and also donate to the Cancer association, old age home and other charity organisations in their area. They also use the funds to sponsor orphaned and destitute learners during activities like matric dances.
“We believe that young people should be encouraged to study to be job creators instead of seekers. They should be taught the skills to start and run successful businesses, thus empowering themselves and their communities socio-economically. This may just be our best chance to eliminate underdevelopment in our communities,” says Cecil Ramonotsi, Acting CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation.