Our Rhodes University Community Engagement student volunteers work tirelessly and selflessly to uplift the community through mentoring, early childhood education, engaged citizenry and social change. Meet Takudzwa Makuwa, a student leader for the BuddingQ Volunteering Programme – and hear about what inspires him.
Q: What are you currently studying?
A: I am studying towards a Bachelor of Economics Honours at Rhodes University.
Q: What motivated you to become involved in Community Engagement?
A: One thing that motivated me to do Community Engagement is that I want to make a difference and leave a footprint in the community. Having a background working with children, I saw that the BuddingQ volunteering programme was a great match. I believe in a statement, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart" [Proverbs 22 verse 6]. As a social agent, I want to contribute to children's development as I want them to be their best version.
Q: Why do you believe all students should become involved in some form of Community Engagement?
A: It drives social transformation, allowing each community member to become part of the decision-making that affects them. People from various backgrounds should be empowered and integrated. Those who feel left out might exert more control over their own lives and those around them. When community members from all backgrounds collaborate, they frequently discover a lot in common. Subsequently, it boosts the knowledge and analytical abilities of the populace. Participants gain in-depth knowledge of the problems. They can view the issue from many angles thanks to their increased knowledge. People can hone their decision-making and communication skills.
Q: What do you love most about being a student leader?
A: The one thing I love about being a student leader is meeting new people who share the same interests and are passionate about making an impact in the community.
Q: What is one of the most heartfelt experiences you have had in this role - one that made you realise the value of what you are doing?
A: For approximately five months as a student leader in 2021, I arrived at one of the local schools in Makhanda. As soon as we arrived, the children, aged 5 to 6 years, immediately started to do the warm-ups as per our routine without telling them what to do. It felt magical. At the same time, it is how children welcome us and are willing to engage with us with the activities we have for them and how they hug us when we, as student volunteers, leave the venue. I have observed the programme's impact through evaluations that we do prior to commencement and towards the programme's end.
We can see that they have improved their gross and fine motor skills with an average of 85% in 2021. We hope that at the end of 2022, we will have a positive response to the programme's effectiveness again.