Part of our research has included attending workshops run by Mamelani Projects. At this meeting one of the youth was asked how his new internship was going. He had only completed one week but said he was very happy and grateful to be working, even though he has to get up at 4.30am in order to get to work for the start of his shift at 7.15am.
He was asked what the highs and lows of his week had been. He said he found it difficult being new and not knowing much, but that he was learning a great deal and he would give us more feedback next week.
He then mentioned that getting up at 4.30am was a bit difficult. He said he can only allow himself to half fall asleep and that he often wakes at around 2am and then he is too afraid to go back to sleep so he sits and stares at the clock until it is time for him to leave for work. He finally told us that he doesn’t have an alarm clock so he is fearful that if he falls back to sleep he will sleep through and be late for work.
He did not come to the meeting with the intention of sharing the fact that he does not have an alarm clock, neither was he there to ask us to buy him one. I have never before come across people with so much humility. They have so much to teach me.
Internships are sourced for the youth in the programme and they are paid a stipend of 1,500 Rand per month. The youth gain valuable work experience and, if they perform well, a good reference.