For­mer army man turns Youth Cen­tre around

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

IT took him close to seven years to trans­form Makokoba Thabiso Youth Cen­tre into a vi­able place where youths can ben­e­fit from cur­ricu­lum and ex­tra cur­ricu­lum ac­tiv­i­ties.

He is a for­mer teacher at Sen­zan­gakhona Pri­mary School and he had a brief stint in the Zim­babwe Na­tional Army and on top of it he is a fam­ily man.

Makokoba Thabiso Youth Cen­tre, Recre­ational Leader, Mr Si­bonginkosi Ma­suku is the man be­hind the trans­for­ma­tion of the youth cen­tre which was like a white ele­phant where youths in the sur­round­ings used the club to pro­mote il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties.

He says it was not an easy road be­cause when he first set foot in the youth cen­tre ev­ery­thing was up­side down, premises were de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and van­dal­ism was an in thing.

“I started work­ing at Thabiso Youth Cen­tre in Jan­uary 2011 so that makes it seven years ago. When I started there ev­ery­thing was not in good state. It was like a white ele­phant, when I came in I made sure that I come up with a par­ent as­so­ci­a­tion to work hand in glove.

“We then ap­proached Non-Governmental Or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOs) to bail us out on what we needed in terms of in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment like paint, doors and ev­ery­thing that does with in­fra­struc­ture. Plan In­ter­na­tional came to our res­cue in help­ing us with doors and quite a num­ber of our sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties,” says Ma­suku.

He men­tions that with that help from Plan In­ter­na­tional they were in a good po­si­tion to lure the youth from the streets to come and do things that can make them bet­ter in life.

Ma­suku adds that the num­ber of youths in­creased dra­mat­i­cally who came to as­so­ciate with the club in do­ing ac­tiv­i­ties from com­puter lit­er­acy and dif­fer­ent sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

He says with the help from par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion and the trans­for­ma­tion of the youth cen­tre played a very piv­otal role in bring­ing the youths back to where they be­long.

“The num­ber in­creased dra­mat­i­cally with the mo­bil­i­sa­tion we did with par­ent

or­gan­i­sa­tion and also the trans­for­ma­tion it­self at the youth cen­tre made them re­alise that there is light at the end of the tun­nel,” adds Ma­suku with a smile. Also, Ma­suku says that the place be­fore he came

was like a for­got­ten one as un­so­licited ac­tiv­i­ties like drug abuse and sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties were be­ing car­ried out in the premises which was not good for the so­ci­ety.

He men­tions that even though the club has trans­formed for the bet­ter the hin­drance to see the growth of the youth cen­tre was the ab­sence of the perime­ter fence to main­tain the premises.

“As I talk now it is far much bet­ter com­pared to when first I came here. The prob­lem is that when there is no perime­ter fence it’s dif­fi­cult to main­tain as the premises will be open for van­dal­ism. That’s the only stum­bling block but what I can tell you is that youths are now off the streets and this is one of our obli­ga­tions as Thabiso Youth Cen­tre,” says Ma­suku.

Ma­suku com­ple­ments the works which is done by the peo­ple of Makokoba by plough­ing back to the so­ci­ety in up­lift­ing the lives of the youth in the so­ci­ety.

“We also have arts like dance in the youth cen­tre. We have peo­ple who come in to help us and of­fer as­sis­tance in skills train­ing on a vol­un­tary ba­sis. These peo­ple are from Makokoba, peo­ple like Lewis Ndlovu of Drums of Peace is the one who did the paint­ing of the club. He also teaches chil­dren in play­ing drums and also who train football are from Makokoba. They are sim­ply plough­ing back to the com­mu­nity where they come from,” says Ma­suku.

Makokoba Health Care Ini­tia­tive do­na­tion to Thabiso Youth Cen­tre

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