The aim of Mentor A Boy Child is to teach young men to make better life choices and promote healthy masculinity in society, to help alleviate the incidences of toxic masculinity, gender-based violence, crime and dysfunctional families.
Boasting names such as Sydney Nhlanhla Mbhele, Andile Khumalo, Candice Janks, Gugu Nkabinde and Monwabisi Thethe on its advisory board, the programme will include a series of workshops for teenage boys.
The mentors have selected 100 Grade 9 boys from Phafogang High School in Mofolo, Soweto, to attend workshops and receive inspirational talks, curriculum-driven working sessions and one-on-one mentorship sessions.
“The next 18 months is merely a pilot. If the programme proves to be sustainable and is robust, it should be very easy to expand it across the country. When these boys change (for the better), they become a light to their communities. It is important for us to be present, to find people in our communities who can be role models,” said Mbhele.
He called on professional men and women to join and volunteer time and skills in the workshops.
Mentor A Boy Child joins a number of informal programmes aimed at mentoring boys.
Writer and columnist Kabelo Chabalala has been running the Young Men Movement (YMM) in Tshwane since 2016. Chabalala’s approach was to visit high schools in turbulent areas and build a rapport with boys, but he capped the number of mentees at 40.
“The point was to build trust between us (mentors) and them. I met the boys at their different life stages. I see the growing and evolving in its focus over time,” he said.
The Sunday Independent