Welcome to Bridging Gaps
Bridging Gaps is a young non-profit organisation seeking to dismantle intersectional injustices that have been inherited and reproduced in our current social structures. Through our programmes, we create a sense of consciousness for injustice, how it affects our individual lives and identify solutions to achieve more equality in our society.
We are passionate about young people and believe that real youth empowerment needs to start with honest conversations about the youth’s current seen/unseen structural disempowerment. With our projects, we help youngsters to understand the limitations and challenges they experience and guide them to overcome such and achieve their personal goals. Our approach is in line with the idea that “the profound dimensions of our freedom lies exactly in the recognition of constrains that can be overcome” (Paulo Freire).
We are a group of critical thinkers who are not shy to point out what is going wrong and are passionate about making a positive impact. As an organisation, we are active in South Africa & Germany, because we consider societal injustices and racism as global challenges and believe in partnerships to multiply our impact. We are always happy to meet new creative and motivated supporters!
Where? South Africa
The South African society is shaped by many forms of inequality and high levels of oppression. People experience injustice and face prejudices because of their race, gender, (dis)abilities, nationality, sexuality and other significant categories. As such, South Africa forms a piece in the puzzle of global power structures.
Young people have very few opportunities and options to shape and take charge of their lives. This is evident in the skyrocketing costs of high-quality education and the shockingly high levels of youth unemployment.
At the same time, all young people learn and adopt common prejudices and stereotypical behaviours and eventually reproduce some of these problematic existing structures. This works to the disadvantage of all groups, especially those that have faced historical discrimination, mostly on a basis of “race”.
Our main target group is the Afrikan youth from communities shaped by a deliberate depravation of suitable resources. In addition, we want to bring young people from different backgrounds together because like Steve Biko, we consider liberation as important, “not only of the oppressed but also of the oppressor. Happiness can never truly exist in a state of tension”. Our ultimate goal is to create a nurturing environment for all young people in South Africa, which acknowledges everyone’s lived realities and supports them to be the best version of themselves.
Motivated former participants of our projects and young professionals from Gauteng are the main contributors to our association’s work in South Africa. From time to time, German volunteers support them.
- Through youth camps and workshops, we encourage young people to think and act consciously in relation to discrimination and injustice.
- With our Growth Path programme, we equip young people with facilitation and leadership skills to become multipliers in our programmes and their communities.
- We guide the teenagers in their personal and academic journeys with targeted workshops focusing on educational support.
- We collaborate with private and public institutions and offer workshops and trainings to facilitate internal conversations about existing injustices, utilising our experience and knowledge.
- We value open dialogues and space for reflection and include this in all our projects
Even though racism often does not seem to be a topic of general concern in the German society when compared to South Africa, we are convinced that more awareness towards this topic is needed. We are not only concerned when we hear about violent xenophobic attacks. We believe, that also small, un-intended everyday occurrences lead to an unequal society where people, who are perceived as different by the majority in society, are put at a disadvantage. These occurrences and discriminating factors are what we want to discuss with society by asking questions like: What is racism? Where does it come from? How is it being transported?
Regional groups in different cities meet on a regular basis, to discuss our topic and plan new activities. For example, we designed a photo exhibition with critical statements on the topic of everyday racism, which was then exhibited in different locations. Another big success was our documentary, which included Black people in Germany who shared their everyday experiences connected to racism. In our future work, we want to concentrate on creating awareness on our topic among young people. At the same time, we plan to be open to what is happening around us and start different activities in our respective cities, in order to share our concerns with our fellow citizens.
Students and professionals in Constance, Potsdam, Leipzig, Nuremberg – and maybe also in your city sometime soon!
- Itsoseng Clinic, University of Pretoria
- University of Constance (Office for Equal Opportunity and Family Affairs)
- VEUK – Alumni Association of the University of Constance
- Foundation German Volunteering
- Finalists for the social engagement prize awarded by the German National Academic Foundation 2017 [„weitergeben – Engagementpreise der Studienstiftung“]
- Participants United Nations Association of Germany [DGVN] youth freedom prize [Jugendfriedenspreis]
- Fair Changemaker prize [Fairwandlerpreis] awarded by the Karl Kuebel Foundation, November 2016
- Filipas Engel Honour Award 2016
- Baden-Wuerttemberg Foundation: Best-Practice-Example for international solidarity 2015