VUT LAW CLINIC FLAGS THE PLIGHT OF YOUNG PEOPLE AS PART OF YOUTH MONTH COMMEMORATIONS
By: Selina Rapulane- 04 July 2023
As South Africans across the length and breadth of the country commemorated Youth Month in various ways, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Law Clinic took an opportunity to raise the flag on the plight of young people.
This, by hosting an engagement session with the members of communities within the Vaal region – the session was held at the VUT Technology Transfer and Innovation (TTI) precinct in Sebokeng under the theme: “Youth- taking- action.”
Facilitated by Mr Sihle Maseko, a VUT Social Worker, the interactive session was made possible by various stakeholders including Families South Africa (FAMSA) Vaal and Legal Aid South Africa. Other key role players in the success of the event included Lebohang Ramonyadioa, Maths coach in a book form; Sipho Nkosi from the University’s Centre of Academic Development (CAD) and Ms Bathabile Maseki, who graciously agreed to volunteer their time and effort for the session.
In her welcome address, Ms Dimakatso Dhlamini, Principal Attorney at VUT Law Clinic pointed that the purpose of the engagement session was for everyone to come and share information concerning the challenges that are faced by not only youth, but also how they affect parents alike. “We have issues with drugs, alcohol abuse, unemployment and the morale around youth is very low. This needs to change and that’s why we are here today – to join our minds in bringing hope to our youth,” Dhlamini said. She added that, VUT Law Clinic lives to serve the communities within they operate and will continue to play a role in their progress through information sharing – hence they invited various stakeholders on the day. “The speakers that were able to join us today will help us tackle these issues so that we can be able to lend a helping hand to the next person in need”.
The information session focused on the needs, expectations and desires of the youth in Vaal, as they are faced with many challenges that hamper them from flourishing. Additionally, the aim of the session was to reach out to the youth of today, with specialized engaging activities, to guide, teach, and support them as they journey through life, as well as assist and encourage them to make positive life choices.
Notably, during discussions, youth opened up about their challenges in full view of their parents, many adding that the session enabled them to start thinking about critical ways they can use in promoting healthy behaviors among the youth.
“I am excited that today I am part of the people that are saying thank you to the youth of 1976. We recognize their indomitable spirit and resilience and we as today’s youth will strive to continue their legacy. Today marks an opportunity for us to engage as the youth in celebration of unity and aspiration”, commented Ms Siphokazi Zondi, a Project Coordinator at VUT Centre of Footwear Entrepreneurship.
This is not a first of its kind community outreach for VUT Law Clinic – other activities include drafting Wills for the community at no cost, as well as sharing valuable tips on property related matters. In addition to giving back to the community, such initiatives are aligned to, and underpinned by one of the University’s strategic pillars of Socially Engaged Scholarship. Over the years, VUT has embarked on an initiative of embedding the scholarship of engagement through which relations amongst scholars, academics and communities are fostered through reciprocal and mutual learning for the benefit of social humanity.