Ayanda Allie-Paine at the Bukho Bami Youth Centre Library Image by Yami Nhlenyama

Located in Dobsonville, The Bukho Bami Youth Centre is a pillar of strength for the students who attend there. It solely caters for the children and helps them with their school work by reinforcing what they have learned in class. It is founded by Power FM’s, Ayanda Allie-Paine.

The former resident of Dobsonville felt that she needed to become the change she wants to see by doing something positive. There was no better place to do that something positive, than her former neighbourhood, utilising her parents’ former home. Ayanda was overwhelmed by some of her peers who she grew up with, because they did not achieve as much as they could have, for reasons such as lack of resources and lack of opportunities, due to their background. This could be seen as her inspiration to start Bukho Bami.

Before starting the youth centre she did research by involving the community members of Dobsonville and having discussions with them, on what they could do to make a change in the community and they suggested that she had to do something for the youth. “Any help we wanted to do for the community, we do with the community” says Ayanda.

Ayanda with some of the volunteers at the centre. Image: Yami Nhlenyama

The youth centre enrols students from grade 10 to 12 and the students go there voluntarily. Bukho Bami works hand in hand with the schools within the community. However, before they got any students going to the youth centre, they did an initiative called activation, where they visited different schools and informed them about the after-school care programme that they are running and asked if they could partner up with those schools and have students who wanted to better their marks and participate in recreational activities come to the centre voluntarily. Initially they targeted two schools within the 5 km radius of the centre, which were PJ Simelane and George Khoza, both are secondary schools. At the moment the youth centre has students from seven different schools attending. 

Ayanda has young qualified tutors volunteering at the centre by helping with the students. They help the students academically, psychologically and also with skills development and career guidance. They play a huge significant role at the centre by tutoring and encouraging the students to sway away from criminal activity or going into the wrong path. The centre also has tours which take the students outside of the neighbourhood to continue encouraging them not to go into the wrong path but to head the right way and become successful by working hard and breaking their poor background cycle.

Bukho Bami currently works side by side with social workers and other types of NGO’s to meet the children’s needs. The youth centre does not have any sponsors at the moment to help fund it; however Ayanda would like to see the it become self-sustainable.

A youth centre such as Bukho Bami could be what every township needs in their community to make the lives of students more adaptable and better for them.

 

By Lebogang Mahlong

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