“From Poverty to Opportunity”
One of my very first blogs on Olivia Earth detailed a life-changing experience where I visited Kliptown, a poor district in Soweto, while on the IFAW Youth Forum for People and Wildlife. I wrote about how the Youth Forum delegates were inspired to help out at Kliptown Youth Program, a school borne out of the passion of one man, Thulani Madondo. The Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) has educated more than 400 pupils and has had the reward of sending 23 of its learners to university.
The idea that we came up with to help KYP was very simple however, it was effective and sustainable – this is what happened:
Our IFAW youth group was spending a very limited time in South Africa so we didn’t want to plan anything too ambitious in the fear it wouldn’t be realistic. We started by asking Thulani what was most needed at KYP. After some time chatting we decided that we wanted to help with their marketing and merchandise. We recognised that KYP lacked a quick form of revenue and then planned to get a local South African designer to incorporate their current logo into something edgy and inspiring to print on tee shirts. My thoughts immediately went to Durban local, Resoborg (Wesley van Eeden), who’s work I have been following for some time now. The thinking was that we we didn’t want to completely reinvent their original design but rather empower the community by simply adding to it. This is what we all created together:
See the photos from KYP’s 10th anniversary celebration:
It is really important when planning a community project to:
1) Empower the community by working with what they have and not reinventing the wheel
2) Keeping it local – ‘if everyone cleaned up their own backyard there would be no litter’
3) Ensuring that the project’s outcomes are sustainable – there is little benefit in leaving a community without the skills or tools it needs to continue to better itself. The logo and tee shirt design are sustainable because they can be used to make a consistent revenue due to the edgy and eye-catching designs.