Youth leadership values course success

By Mervyn Naidoo Time of article published Dec 8, 2019

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WHILE receiving certification for completing an internationally recognised life skills course was a moment to savour for a batch of Durban youth, they believed the greater benefits derived from the programme was still to come.

Youth, predominantly from Queensburgh and Chatsworth, got insight on life through the iChoose Youth Leadership Values Programme, which was hosted by Salt and Sunshine Ministries (SSM), in Malvern.

The programme culminated with a graduation ceremony, last week, for the 41 youth who got to grips with the 16 core leadership values that typifies iChoose.

US leadership guru, John Maxwell, devised this programme that has no religious slant, instead, it’s bent on honing the holistic development of young leaders.

Some of the iChoose values include; choices, relationships, influence, self-worth, resilience, forgiveness and commitment.

Although the programme was conducted in a church building, the participants were not weighed down by any pious persuasion, but were encouraged by local facilitators to always speak their minds during the six months of mainly outcomes-based learning sessions.

Rajen Naidoo, lead pastor at SSM, who is the only certified John Maxwell coach in KZN, having completed his training in Florida, US, last year, spearheaded the Durban initiative.

Inspired by Maxwell, who had gifted his coaches with the then just launched iChoose programme, and said to them, “go to your nations and train the generations to come,” Naidoo heeded the call for action.

It struck Naidoo that it would be the last occasion in his lifetime that a year would have a “teen” ring to it, and this stirred his compulsion to empower youth with values that could change generations to come.

In March, Naidoo, was able to launch iChoose together with SSM’s youth department and four course facilitators who shared his vision.

With the help of other community leaders, youth from Queensburgh and surrounding areas committed themselves to the programme.

Naidoo said the programme was all about “equipping, inspiring, and getting youth to project a positive image of themselves”.

Based on the feedback, Naidoo said: “The youth said they felt empowered after each two-hour long weekly session. Best of all, was that the youngsters were putting into practice what they had learnt in everyday situations.”

Naidoo said the programme was designed to reach out to all youth, irrespective of their race, gender or religious affiliation.

One of the participants, Levern Khwela, said when she was told about the iChoose programme, she was not convinced about getting involved, but that all changed after the first session.

“I was sceptical initially, because people are always promoting programmes. Besides, I never heard of John Maxwell before.

“My other concern was that it could take away time from my school work. But after the first lesson, I knew the programme would be beneficial to me.”

Khwela said she learnt a lot about herself, areas that she could improve in and she also learnt about other youth around her.

The values that impacted her the most were “choice” and “resilience”.

“Choice sets the tone for where you are heading to in life, and I need resilience not to quit in life but encourage others too”

She said she would also recommend adults to attend.

Isabel Naidoo said she felt fortunate being part of an initiative that is aimed at steering youngsters in the right direction and to become better leaders.

She said that often youngsters felt overwhelmed by peer pressure, insecurities, being judged and social media.

“We often have questions that we are too afraid to ask and tend to go with the flow. This programme equipped us with the ability to tackle those issues head-on,” said Isabel Naidoo.

Nicky Govender, a parent, said she was pleased to see that her son Saieshan had “changed for the better” after participating in the programme.

Registration for the 2020 instalment of iChoose is on the go and the response has been good, said Naidoo.

“We’re anticipating an even bigger response next year when we take iChoose to more communities in Durban.

“We also see this programme spreading through the continent after our successful launch with Ugandan university students in September,” said Naidoo.

For more information contact Vanessa Naidoo on 083 799 4648.


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