During the week of the 14th of September, GOLD brought together an amazing team of young leaders, who are leading a ‘Revolution of Hope’ in their grassroots communities. GOLD Facilitators from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Zambia as well as GOLD field and head office staff attended the GOLD Rush Conference. Starting off with the “Why are we here” discussion, the facilitators were encouraged and motivated by GOLD’s CEO Susannah Farr. She shared the mission and vision behind what brings every young person part of the GOLD community together. As people, we often get so caught up in everyday doings that we forget why we are where we are. The conference was a great way to regroup from a personal and group perspective.
Facilitators were also inducted in some of the current GOLD services and offerings such as Future Forward (preparing GOLD youth for the transition from school and into the world of work or study). An “Emerging Market” panel discussion was held where GOLD Grads together with representatives from Citadel and Fortis hotels looked at the current causes of youth unemployment and possible ways to fight this. Both parties (corporate and young people) got a chance to view the issue from a different lens allowing learning to take place. Following the discussion few of the corporate representatives continued to share their opinions about closing the gap between youth from grassroot communities and the opportunities corporate companies may have for young people seeking entry-level employment. A representative from Protea Hotel said, “opportunity is a blank page and it’s up to you to turn your blank page into a sterling artwork” .
When the corporate representatives were asked “what do you wish that youth knew when starting a job” one of the representative said “a teachable spirit” and another representative said “don’t despise small beginnings and learn as much as you can”
This was an amazing and enriching experience for the facilitators across South Africa and Zambia. Participants got to see and understand that this kind of engagement does not just end in their little classrooms where they mentor peer educators and deliver skills training sessions; but goes wider and deeper. This vision is bigger than each individual; this vision is for all of us. It is for Africa.
They danced, they sang, they shared their stories and their communities’ stories. They made friends, they encouraged each other and in turn encouraged the GOLD teams at the head and field offices. These young people are enthusiastic about their communities, their countries and the continent. They are not afraid.
GOLD would like to thank each and every person that made the GOLD Rush Conference possible and we look forward to imparting vision and purpose in your communities together with you.