Cape Town – Shandre Slinger is a Gold Award Holder of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award for Young People, known in South Africa as The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment (TPA).
She completed the award programme whilst working at CASE (Community Action towards a Safer Environment) in Hanover Park, Cape Town.
Her determination to overcome her challenges and not allow negative peer pressure to pull her down, is inspiring.
Here is her story:
“I was four years old when my mother died. My sister was seven and my brother was only four months old. After my mother’s death, we moved to Hanover Park.
As a young woman growing up in Hanover Park, I was exposed to many negative things such as gangsterism, teenage pregnancy, abusive men and females, people disrespecting one other.
That motivated me to become someone better, and to focus on my dreams. We should always try and look at things in a positive way as there are doors that you never knew existed, that can open for you.
Growing up with a single parent was never easy. We could see how my father was struggling emotionally. During my schooling years I was always described as being different. I never did what other pupils did and I never allowed myself to be influenced by their activities.
I guess that’s how my father raised me. I was a very private and shy person. Since I started The President’s Award (TPA) Programme through my former job, CASE, everything changed. Hanover Park is filled with talented and intelligent people, but poverty-minded people are overpowering the community.
I chose not to be included with the poverty-minded people, but to do something about it and break the cycle. That’s how I got involved with TPA and other organizations to come up with solutions.
The award allowed me to interact with diverse people and enabled me to believe in myself. The Award helped me build my confidence and self-esteem; and it also helped me find my purpose in life.
The award opened doors for me; finding a sponsor for my first flight to Johannesburg to receive my Gold Award from HRH Prince Edward.
That for me was an outstanding moment because I was selected to deliver my testimony at the Ceremony.
If it was not for the Award Programme then I would have never been where I am today. I only worked seven months at Salesian Institute Youth Projects as an Administrative Assistant and got promoted to be a Developer Administrator.
That is a huge stepping stone in my career. There are more opportunities in the award that are awaiting me. I’m prepared to grab them with both hands, that’s how eager and optimistic TPA made me.
My advice to other young people growing up in challenging circumstances are to pray to God for strength. Do not be too hasty to move out of your community, because your community need youth like us to change it. We are the future."
At the end of May, Shandre received both good and bad news. Her dad’s informal house or shack burnt down and the family lost most of their possessions.
In the same week, Shandre was selected to represent TPA at an International Gold Event with Gold Award Holders from around the world, scheduled to take place in
Prague in October this year.
Any person wishing to contribute to her family or her trip to Prague, can contact The President’s Award at [email protected]
Background to The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment
The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment (TPA) is affiliated to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People and is a full member of the International Award Foundation which oversees the Award Programme in over 140 countries globally.
TPA creates opportunities for young people to develop character, discover their purpose and determine their future to contribute towards building a great South Africa.
The Award Programme targets 14-24 year olds across the socio-economic spectrum, from public and private schools, children’s homes, correctional centres, tertiary institutions, etc.
Participants progress at their own pace through three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
There are four Sections to the Programme that must be done for a specified minimum period of time, for each level:
Skills; Physical Recreation; Service and; an Adventurous Journey. In addition, a Residential Project is required for the Gold level.
On achieving an Award, participants would have developed many skills, behaviours and attitudes that equip them to succeed in life and work.
* #StoriesofHope is a partnership between TPA and TYI, Independent Media's youth-centric digital platform.
** Comment on Shandre’s story of hope by following @theyoungindy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.