As Upstart has grown, Sindi has grown with itDate Released: Tue, 27 August 2019 11:00 +0200
By Tanatswa Chivhere
Sindi Dingana is a young woman with a passion for her community. The awards which line her walls are testament to the Makhanda born’s commitment to helping out the young people of her community. One can easily tell that her journey has just begun, and the community will continue to feel her impact for years to come.
Sindi Dingana is the manager of the Upstart Youth Programme. The youth development is aimed at pupils between grades 10 to 12 and is currently functioning in 2 local high schools. The project was funded in 2008 as a response to the poor literacy rate which directly affected the Matric pass rate. Upstart was introduced as a way of helping students with their communication skills and has now grown into a media training service. The programme also gives students a form of career guidance by exploring different avenues such as radio and writing. Upstart’s successes can be seen through the newspaper supplement that is produced on an annual basis.
Sindi’s experience with Upstart was in her Matric year. She joined the Upstart Club when it was still in it’s beginning phase and has kept the fire burning since. As an Upstarter, she wrote a story which was included in a book titled “We Write What We Like”. Her work also appears on the FunDza website. In an article she wrote in Matric, Sindi mentioned studying Journalism at Rhodes University as one of her goals. Ironically, her current office is situated in the Africa Media Matrix (home of the university’s Journalism Department). Sindi chose to work for Upstart during her gap year. She was at a crossroads on which career path to take but her passion for youth development led her to Upstart.
As Upstart has grown, Sindi has grown with it. Growing up, she admired the Upstart facilitators because they were confident and walked with a graceful air. She also appreciated how they aimed to form friendships with the students and not just help them for the sake of giving back. She now realises that she has become the person that she used to idolise. Her role as the manager has taught her how to stand in front of a large crowd and it has improved her personal communication skills. Running Upstart takes great organisational skill, as the programme is used for service learning by Rhodes University and this something that Sindi takes away from her tenure as the manager.
According to Sindi, “there is always room to help”. She encourages university students and other community partners to volunteer for the programme. Upstart, like most NGOs, suffers from problems with a lack of funding and under-resourcing. In an attempt to curb the problem, she encourages students to volunteer because it gives them the opportunity to learn more about themselves in the process. “If you go above and beyond the call, there is an unlimited number of benefits”, she says.
You can find out more about Upstart here.
Source:Community Engagement Directorate