The Industrial Psychology honours group in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences’ Department of Human Resource Management has a subject focused on community outreach and service. “Under normal circumstances, the goal is to teach students to reach out, to serve and help in communities. Often the feedback we get from students is that, in their attempt to influence others and make a difference in their lives, their own lives and perceptions were changed,” says Madele Klingenberg, lecturer in the Department.
This year started as a normal year and projects where the students could make a difference were identified. A majority of the projects involved running development workshops in informal settlements to upskill and empower individuals with skills to write a CV, prepare for interviews and much more.
“It would have been easy to say that the risks of COVID prevented the class from doing their hours, but this group showed tenacity and resilience. Although all project plans had to be changed and redone to accommodate COVID regulations, the students did not let that stop them!” says Klingenberg.
The students embarked on various projects, and the outcome was exceptional. “Where our focus was normally to make a difference in groups, their impact was more on an individual level,” she adds. One student wrote CV’s for beggars next to the road, other students helped at a women’s shelter, and a few students helped a non-profit organisation to go from manual to digital processes.
“What it showed me is that where there is a will, there is a way. I have hope for our country’s future, and we can all make a difference, one small attempt at a time,” Klingenberg concludes.