Our team in Pretoria
During the course of 2013, the team in South Africa initiated the project Bridges Camp in co-operation with Itsoseng Clinic, the psychological clinic at the University of Pretoria. So far, they have reached more than 250 teenagers and students in over 10 camps. The Bridges Camps create a platform for young people from different backgrounds to come together and lower their prejudices through interpersonal contact.
This experience helps young people to become more conscious of racism and social injustices and work together to take a strong stand against it. One special aspect of the camp is that a few teenagers are selected at each camp to become facilitators at the next camp. After an intensive preparation training, they have a chance to teach the new participants and take responsibility for the games as well as the overall organisation of the camp. This approach encourages young people to think critically about societal structures and take responsibility to have a positive impact as part of our project as well as in their direct environment. The project ultimately aims at supporting future leaders to create social change.
To support these young people with their education and guide them on their path towards personal development, we also offer regular workshops. Currently, we are running a computer project in cooperation with the German International School in Pretoria and SAP.
Morongoa Masemola is spearheading all projects and in May 2016, she registered our organisation, Bridging Gaps, under the same name in South Africa.
“The Bridges Camp team and in particular the teenagers are like a family to me. I am always looking forward to the next camp. The teenagers have so much energy and always cheer me up. It is important to me to have productive discussions with young people instead of merely teaching them. It is surprising and amazing to see, how much you can learn from them and I guess, this is what I appreciate most about our project.”
Moronga has gathered many experiences in working with teenagers: Previously, she has offered workshops on sexuality and health in schools as part of her engagement with another non-profit organisation and worked as a volunteer in a psychological clinic. Recently, she has been accepted into the Activate Leadership Programme.
She has many ideas for the Bridges Camps and can see the future of this project in front of her inner eye:
“I want to see the camps growing and moving all over South Africa. My dream would come true, if we could reach even more teenagers and integrate more social groups. Being the leader of the team is amazing but also a huge challenges. Bridges Camp means a lot to me.”
In her work in Pretoria, Morongoa Masemola is supported by her colleagues Dzunisani Makasela and Lorrain Tibane.
Dzunisani Makasela is a 24 years old writer, activists and a blogger from Soweto, Diepkloof. He is a Political Science and Public Governance graduate from the University of Johannesburg and further holds a bachelor in Journalism and Communication studies. He states that he believes in giving up his time/volunteering for the greater good of others and society as a whole, thus promoting social cohesion, positive values and norms which make up the human race. In his free time, he enjoys reading literature and other disciplines, engaging in prospective debates that bring about change in perspectives about ideology, believes and the general misconceptions which govern most dialogues between people.
Together with her friends, Lorrain has launched the initiative “Bridges Camp” at the end of 2013. Increasingly, she had been disturbed by the fact that young people from different groups hardly get in touch with each other and her observations that prejudices, as well as racism, are still omnipresent in society. She is an active member of Bridging Gaps because she wants to make a personal contribution to make a positive change. Lorrain has contributed decisively to the financing and implementation of the first camps and has been supporting the team with her knowledge and advice since the birth of their two sons. In the regional group, she is responsible for administrative activities.