UP students apply their skills in the community

Posted on March 05, 2012

According to Dr Martina Jordaan, Module Coordinator, the module was introduced in 2005 and has grown ever since. The module is compulsory for all students in the Faculty and requires them to do 40 hours of community service and another 40 hours of assignments.
“The aim is to develop life skills, be of service to the community and understand social issues,” she stated. “Student’s really got out of their comfort zones to do these projects and when you calculate the hours spent on all the projects, one can just imagine the impact that we made last year.”
The module allows students to get involved in a community project of their choice, through which they address a specific need and transfer knowledge and skills. Typical projects last year included: 
  • maths and science tutoring for learners at schools or via MXit;
  • computer training at schools and communities;
  • the renovation and construction of buildings, playgrounds, jungle gyms and more at schools, orphanages and care centres;
  • restoration at national museums;
  • developing websites for schools and other non-profit organisations;
  • entrepreneurial projects in communities; and
  • enrichment projects for animals at the National Zoological Gardens, Pretoria.
The success of these projects were celebrated at a function held at the University on 1 March 2012, where the students and members of the community involved in these projects during 2011 were acknowledged for their hard work and participation. Students who were responsible for transport as well as those who acted as mentors for the ongoing projects received certificates of recognition for their contributions. Special thanks also went to the community members that accommodated the student groups.
Speaking at the function, Dean of the Faculty EBIT, Prof Roelf Sandenbergh mentioned that communities are very fragmented nowadays and that this module aims to make people realise that they can come together and offer something of value to each other.
He addressed the students saying that it is important for them to “build character, to learn how to interact with communities and to try and do well. If you are lucky, the community will respond positively, but that shouldn’t be a factor. You must give and the joy should not be in the feedback you get – that is only a bonus. The reward should be in the giving. That is the principle that you should take with you.”
Prof Alta van der Merwe, Head of the Department of Informatics under which the module falls, reiterated the Dean’s sentiment and urged students to take the lessons they’ve learned with them when they become leaders in the future. “Keep in mind that we are not only people working every day, but we also have a responsibility.”
During the course of their projects, students report on their activities in the form of blogs which are accessible on the University of Pretoria’s website. According to Dr Jordaan, the students get a lot of exposure and even funding through these blogs. You can read more about last year’s projects here: http:/blogs.up.ac.za/jcp2011/index.php.
Certain projects and students received special mention in the following categories:
Best group leader: Simei Botha
Best new project
Ashleigh Maddison
Brad Mostert
Ruben Bakker

Most media coverage

Francois Retief

Best computer training project
Martin Schoeman

Most creative project

Francois Boer
Kobus Delport
Herman Maritz
Samuel Lombard
Tiaan Maartens
Ina Ferreirra
Martin Meiring

Best career guidance project

Mabola Boshiele
Modiri T Mamogobo
Modibudi M Rakgalakane

Most committed group
Amy Beukes
Dané Botha
Christiaan Theron
Mark Pengelly

Most innovative project
Sean Joseph
Lee-Jay Steinhobel

Best renovation project
Wade Rodewijk
Ryan Prospero
Kyle Buckley

Best transformation project
Dewald Nel
Hennie West

Best website project
Rozie Cronjé
Aretha Erasmus

Best Maths project
Mnelisis Gasa

Best National Zoological Gardens of South Africa project (1)

Samuel Kekana
Catherine O'Brien
Misha Nel
Tlhologelo Mogoatlhe
Kelsey Yates
Maxine Kimber

Best National Zoological Gardens of South Africa project (2)

Ahmed Ebaid
Lutfiyya Razak
Yaseen Ahmed
Jameel Mukadam
Nabeel Ismail
Najood Ramela
Luthfiya Osman
Heelin Mistry

Most unique project
Arne Smit
Donovan Risk
Johannes Mentz
Stoffel Fourie

Best blog
Helena Klimek
Chrisna du Plessis
Daniella Labuschagne
Aimy Carr
Natasha Ramos

Best project overall

Ilana Wassenaar
Hesti le Roux
Eon de Villiers
Carienne Strydom

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