Reflections by Rogz Academy intern Samkelo Jada

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Samkelo Jada, ex-Yeboneer 2020 and Rogz Academy Intern for 2021, writes about her experience this year with the Rogz Academy team and especially with one of her projects, the My Pandemic Storybook. Samkelo will be staying at Rogz Academy as an Intern for 2022 until she can secure a permanent job in Social Work. We wish her well!

Rogz Academy Intern based at Rogz pet gear offices

Samkelo was selected from the 2020 Yeboneer graduates and began her internship at Rogz Academy in January 2021, with 2 days a week at Rogz World Headquarters learning administrative skills and receiving mentorship, whilst helping to manage the 2021 Yeboneers with their education projects at the under-resourced schools in her community for the rest of the week.

Reflecting on the first few days in the role, Samkelo has the following to say, “It was a challenging and exciting time, where I was assisting in the recruitment process, this included canvasing in the community, and advertising the Year Beyond opportunity. This also includes helping in the interviewing and selecting of candidates, these first duties set a tone of being a part of a team and involvement.”

“The internship benefited me in that it was a learning and growing experience, I definitely am not the same as when I started off. I developed the skills of administration more than any other! I also had an opportunity ensuring that the implementation of the program is a success, from the point of initiating entry into the schools, training the volunteers, monitoring and evaluating implementation, to terminating with the group and the school community. This in turn has developed and enhanced my skills and broadened my understanding of the practical role of being a mentor.

Charity Chibwe interviewing Samkelo Jada, Rogz Academy Intern 2021

Importance of mentor support and Accountability

A time I would say was most overwhelming was the first few weeks of doing intense data capturing of learner registers, I felt under pressure that I would not be able to meet the set deadlines. However, my two superiors were supportive with the process. The team also set up a meeting where they shared and equipped me with some of the tools they have acquired over years of experience.

I also learnt accountability, learnt to be accountable to myself really, going from a Yeboneer where your every move is reported, to then managing myself and making sure I show up whether told to or not. My experience interning at Rogz Academy was great, I learnt a lot and I am grateful for the stepping stone, as the knowledge and skills obtained are good preparation for the work place.

My Pandemic Storybook Programme

One of my highlights of the year at Rogz Academy was the opportunity of facilitating the My South African pandemic story book. Being able to create bonds and connections with the learners outside the classroom, getting to know and understand their social circumstances and the impacts this holds on each one of them, consequently working through those challenges with the learners. This process taught me planning amongst other things, in terms of the work that goes on before implementation.

I was granted an opportunity by Rogz Academy to use my Social Work background and skills, because that is ultimately a career to which I am aspiring. From 28 October – 18 November 2021, I ran six sessions for the My Pandemic Storybook with a group of grade 3 learners from Silverleaf Primary in Dunoon, an under-resourced community in Cape Town. These sessions were aimed at providing the learners a safe space, where they could talk about their experiences during the pandemic and the impact for each of them. I then helped to teach them new ways of dealing with future stressors such as these times.

It was a heart-warming experience working with this group, just being there to listen and support them felt very satisfying. I managed to build relationships of trust and a non-judgmental space for sharing and learning and also getting to know them outside of the class, at a more personal level. 

Seeing the learners in the school and the community afterwards, I could see that they appreciated the time dedicated to listen and talk to them. This was obvious in the way they smiled and pointed me out to their friends and that for me is an assurance of sorts that this was impactful.

The learners loved writing in their My Pandemic Storybooks

Learning new skills

At times however the sessions did not always flow as planned. This was important as I got to learn the importance of reflection and self introspection, where I had to look to self and see where I could improve and make sure that I can be flexible to each one’s needs in order to get the desired responses. I look forward to taking what I have experienced and learnt from my first group to future sessions where I will facilitate and build on better connections to help the children, because the pandemic is not over yet!

Where to next for Samkelo?

Top of my nearby future plans is securing a permanent job in the field of my studies, which is Social work.

Written by Samkelo Jada, Rogz Academy Intern 2021

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