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Sunday, 07 July 2013 02:00

ICC Announces The 2013 Young Commuinity Shaper of the Year

Lea Ngobeni was the proud recipient of the 2013 ICC Young Community Shaper (YCS) of the Year Award and was rewarded with a cheque for R60 000 for her Mobile Youth project. The glamorous gala event took place at Monte Casino on the 11th June where all nine finalists had the opportunity to present their community projects.

The Young Community Shapers Initiative is now in its 13th year. The objective is to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the work that countless youngsters do in their communities.

The winner, Lea Ngobeni, is a perfect example of this. She started the Mobile Youth Group in her community in Cullinan after noticing that her peers often made choices that were going to complicate and disrupt their lives. Some of these included becoming pregnant too early or taking drugs. She felt that this was often because of their difficult environments. Her project aims to help them find solutions, bring change and behave in a positive manner, resulting in a happier and more productive lifestyle. The challenges encountered are so diverse and as a result, the Mobile Youth Group consists of a variety of programmes to help empower the youth. Ngobeni's multi-dimensional approach includes teaching computer literacy, hosting book clubs and conducting sports such as soccer and netball. This helps strengthen teamwork and promote a healthy lifestyle.

She sums it up with her statement "My aim is to develop youngsters who are responsible and informed, future leaders who will make good decisions and embrace life as productive members of their community."

After receiving the award, Ngobeni commented that she looks forward to buying more computers, books and kits. She hopes to build her own centre one day.

The runner up, Baxolise Dlali, received a cheque for R30 000 for his project called Lets Learn Together, based in East London. He tutors high school children free of charge, giving them hope, helping them cope with the school load and ultimately, with the deteriorating pass rate in South Africa. He teaches the challenging subjects of accounting and maths to around 50 learners. He also teaches basic computer literacy and helps with driver's license studies. The project has achieved global recognition and he has been invited to participate at an International Youth meeting in Pattaya, Thailand. "Its our simple acts of compassion, convicted by love and driven by the desire for people to do the same and help to improve the socio economic circumstances of the people in our country."

The remaining seven finalists were also commended with each receiving R10 000 for their Projects. They are Busisiwe Nkosi, Cathrine Mokgawa, Johannes Lephosa, Mmakgabo Mapotse, Sello Maphosa, Shadrack Seepe and Grace Malakoane.

Themba Maluleke, last year's recipient of the award was also present and gave a moving testament to the difference that the award has made to his project - THF Youth Development. He thanked ICC for all they had done and said he was able to bring about a much bigger impact to his community through the funding. "By helping one person, you end up helping 10 000 people through the principle of Ubuntu."

The ICC Young Community Shaper of the Year Award is made possible through the donations from The ICC Group and the sponsors namely Unilever, Rainbow, Premier, Nestlé, Tiger Brands, Entyce, Snackworks and Colgate.

Gert Scheepers, CEO of The ICC Group was yet again impressed with the work that these youngsters do for their communities for no monetary benefit. Many of ICC's stores are located in these communities and by sponsoring YCS, these youngsters can continue to uplift their own communities. "They are living their dream and the true meaning of what Ubuntu stands for - making a difference in someone else's life. We can all take inspiration from them and follow in their footsteps in our own circle of influence."

For more information, please visit www.iccgroup.co.za or contact Sanet Yelland via email on .

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