This year, two of our Grade 11 students were afforded the tremendous opportunity of participating in The Children’s Institute Child Gauge 2015 conference. They met with 18 other students from different backgrounds and discussed big issues and challenges facing young people today. The conference was held in Cape Town, meaning our students got their first ever flying experience! Both Zuko and Zukisa reported that they had participated in some incredibly fruitful and engaging conversations, and the culmination of these discussions can be found in the Youth Matters Bulletin – available by clicking here. We sat down with Zuko and Zukisa and asked them a few questions about their amazing experience.
What is the Children’s Institute?
Zuko: It is an organisation that deals with and focuses on the rights of children. This organisation is found at the University of Cape Town and it annually publishes a book called South African Child Gauge,in order to ensure progress towards realising children’s rights.
How were you selected for the conference?
Zuko: We as Axium students received forms from one of the Axium staff members, and in the forms we had to identify, discuss, and provide possible solutions to the major challenges we face as individuals and as a community. Zukisa and I were then selected to be a part of the 18 students attending the Youth Matters workshops.
How did you prepare for the experience?
Zukisa: We took some notes at the June Holiday Axium bootcamp. We got help from our fellow classmates to see what they are facing and we tried to summarise those issues by choosing the common ones – e.g. long distances to and from school.
What kinds of activities and discussions did you have at the conference?
Zuko: We shared notes with other students and selected the five most important issues which we would base the bulletin on. In the second workshop we corrected errors, trying to use simple diction. Lastly we discussed the launch of the Child Gauge book. The event was to be held at the Riverclub in Cape Town and was attended by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela.
What was the highlight of the whole experience?
Zukisa: Discussing issues facing young people.
Zuko: Actually meeting a journalist and having my words included in the official South African Child Gauge Book.
What did you learn from other young people?
Zukisa: I learned that it is important to take responsibility and be accountable to other people.
Zuko: I learned problem solving skills that people use to come up with innovative solutions.