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Sunday, 09 August 2015 21:52

Young Community Shapers 2015 crowns two of the country’s Rising Star’s

The Young Community Shapers Gala Event took place on the 04 August 2015. The initiative is now in its 12th year. This year the event definitely did not disappoint, as two finalists were announced as the winner, each receiving R 60 000 for their projects. Stella Mondlane and Sebongile Selepe’s projects focused on empowering those who are less fortunate, proving that compassion and love go a long way in developing their communities.

The glittering and glamourous “Rising Star” themed event took place at The Venue at Melrose Arch, where all nine finalists had the opportunity to showcase the great work they are doing in their communities. The finalists were handpicked as individuals that are not only running uplifting projects in their communities, but are also uplifting their entire communities – changing lives for the better.

This year there were two guest speakers, who were both former Young Community Shapers participants – Kefilwe Bopape, 2014 winner and Lesego Serelong, 2006 finalist. They both shared inspiring stories, proving that the Young Community Shapers initiative makes a very big difference in the lives of those who are involved. Kefilwe’s project “Life After Matric” has grown immensely, moving from strength to strength. Lesego Serelong is still running her community project, 9 years later – a true testament to the passion and love that the finalists have for their projects.  They both shared the same message, that in order to have growth, whether it be as an individual or within a community, you have to first ensure that the roots are looked after. Without foundation, there will be no development.

The two winners are a true example of the message shared. Stella Mondlane’s SI Youth Inititative project focuses on youth and women empowerment. In order to bring economic and community development to those around her, she looks after about 30 orphans on a daily basis, feeding them and ensuring that they are shown love and care. She also encourages the youth to plant fruits and vegetables so that they are able to have sustainability within the community.

Sebongile Selepe’s project is called Matshekgeng Community Based organization. They focus on caring for the elderly within the community. The aim is to keep them functional so that they can live independently and with dignity. Sebongile teaches them skills which will enable them to make an income, such as sewing mats. She also offers motivational talks, exercise programs and teaches reading and writing, as many did not finish school. Her goal is to show the elderly that they are still important within the community and that they have so much to still live for.

The remaining seven finalists were also commended and received R 10 000 each for their projects. They were Albert Baloyi, Neo Nkosi, Thabiso Mokose, Tebogo Poopedi, Ntombi Sithole, Nthabeleng Mokoena and Ruth Ntjana.

The ICC Young Community Shaper of the Year Award is made possible through the sponsorship of the ICC Buying Group and the member companies, namely Bibi Cash & Carry, Numain Distributors, Big Save, Savemore, Pricechain, Overland Cash & Carry and Raimondis Trading Company. Major other sponsors that were involved are: SABC, Unilever, Rainbow, Premier Foods, Nestlé, Tiger Brands, Entyce Beverages, Snackworks and Colgate.

Gert Scheepers, CEO of ICC Buying Group was once again impressed with the calibre of work that the youth is doing within their communities, commenting on how wonderful it is to see young South African’s actively getting involved, to try and make their country a better place. He says, “It takes great heart and effort to change a tarnished environment for the better- especially if you’re young and financially disadvantaged.”

He believes that it is vital for all big organizations such as the ICC Buying Group to get involved and assist youth of the country, through development and education, as they are ultimately the future.

For more information contact Sanet Yelland on 011 367 6800.

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