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Khanya Memela is the passionate Founder and Managing Director of Mihandzu Learning. She is a qualified Charted Accountant from the University of Witwatersrand. Her After School journey all started with offering academic support to learners from child-headed homes in the area of Ivory Park. In her role as Managing Director, her focus is to lead the fundraising, strategy and sustainability efforts of the organisation.

Mihandzu Learning is a non-profit organisation with focus on improving poor performance in under-resourced schools by providing After School academic support for high school learners. Since 2016, this youth led organisation has served over 2500 learners running after school classes in Maths, IT and Career Guidance. Their programmes serve approximately 250 learners on a weekly basis who are tutored by university students.

We caught up with Khanya Memela to find out what being a youth leader in the After School sector means to her.

What inspires you the most and motivates you to thrive in your role?

    Understanding that our work matters really inspires me. The work we do changes the lives of young people and their families, for now and decades to come. I have always had a passion for social upliftment, and knowing that what we do changes the landscape of our society one household at a time continues to inspire and motivate me.

As a youth leader, what do you hope to achieve through the work that you do?

    We hope to increase the number of learners who can lead better lives than their parents. We believe that with education, you are afforded an increased number of opportunities that can change the quality of your life. Through our efforts, we hope to ultimately remove learners from their plight of poverty.

In your opinion, what is the significance of celebrating youth month, especially in relation to children and education?

    The youth are the next generation to change the trajectory of any society, as was demonstrated in 1976. It is important to remind society of the importance and power of youth in our society. It is important for children to be made aware of their power to change principalities and societal conditions. Youth month is a further reminder of the importance of education, and how learners themselves have the power to accept or reject the quality of education they are receiving. This month is a true reminder of the power of education and the power that young people have to change the status quo.

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