“You can’t change the whole world. However, the one person that do you change, you have no idea how many people’s lives that person touches.” These are the inspiring words of University of Johannesburg (UJ) alumnus and Chairman of the Dream for Life Africa (DLA) organisation, Mr Sibusiso Sgwane.
With the goal to play his part in the alleviation of poverty, Sgwane’s DLA hosts several programmes at UJ to empower and equip students from his alma mater. By the time these students graduate, the aspirant leaders are equipped with information to eradicate unemployment challenges.
DLA does this by enhancing theory taught at the University with real world environments, exposing students to industry based professionals. Through five pillars namely; Mentorship, Career Guidance, Entrepreneurial Development, Leadership Development, and Information Sharing, DLA inspires, guides and exposes students to opportunities.
It identifies young leaders and invites them to conversations where they share thoughts on leadership. Students in turn have the opportunity to interact with high profile speakers. Some students have been afforded work shadowing opportunities at national institutions like the Mail and Guardian and The Star newspaper and the South African Human Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
The idea behind Dream for Life Africa was stimulated by an article released by the World Bank indicating that billions of people were living in poverty and that Sub-Saharan Africa remained the poorest region. “It triggered in me that I might not be a millionaire or a billionaire, but with the little that I have, I can help one or two people,” said the youth leader.
“We started with a Facebook page focusing on youth and empowering young people with information, opportunities, internships, scholarships and motivational quotes. In the hope that in turn, they would empower their communities and uplift their families from poverty.”
Sgwane is inspired by the students who have benefited from their programme. “I’ve always been passionate about making a difference in other people’s lives. It makes me happy to see somebody smiling and saying that through our work, we have made a difference in their life. It makes me happy to know I’ve empowered somebody who didn’t have the means to empower themselves.”
Sgwane extended words of gratitude towards UJ’s Faculty of Humanities for sponsoring venues where they host their monthly mentorship programme. In an interview with UJ.ac.za, he said: “UJ is innovative and accepts fresh ideas. It’s open to see value in new concepts. To experience that the University is not only concerned with educating its students, but also in uplifting and empowering them through other means is amazing on its own.”
Sgwane holds a BA in Journalism Degree as well as an Honours Degree in Politics at UJ. In September 2015, he will pursue his Masters in International Development at the Brussels School of International Studies, at the University of Kent.
For more information on Dream For Life Africa, visit: www.dreamforlifeafrica.org