Short description

IkamvaYouth equips learners from disadvantaged communities in grades 8 to 12 with the knowledge required to access tertiary education and/or employment opportunities once they matriculate.


Despite the fact that South Africa has attained Millennium Development Goal 2 and spends 18.5 per cent of its annual budget on education, the education system remains largely in a poor state of affairs. The system has failed to reverse unacceptably low exam results or to improve the standard of teaching. The quality of education remains very poor, and the output rate has not improved. Furthermore, classrooms are still overcrowded: the ratio of teachers to learners is 1:32 in South African public schools. Other challenges include poor teacher training, unskilled teachers, and lack of commitment by teachers, poor support for learners at home and a shortage of resources in education despite the large budgetary commitments by government.
It is clear, based on the facts, that there is a need to improve the quality and functionality of education.


IkamvaYouth was established in 2003 to work with learners from township-based secondary schools and provide them with intensive tutoring in all subjects. Its aim is to help learners improve their grades and access quality post-school opportunities. The organisation equips learners from disadvantaged communities with the knowledge, skills and resources required to access tertiary education and employment opportunities.

IkamvaYouth works within township communities in the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. Communities are selected based on various criteria such as poorest academic results achieved and requests by funders Learners voluntarily apply and selection is done on a first come first serve basis. There are no academic requirements for entry, but learners need to meet a minimum of 75% attendance rate in order for them to keep their place in the programme. The number of new learners enrolled each year is dependent on the capacity of each branch. More established branches have in the region of 160-200 learners enrolled each  year.

IkamvaYouth provides additional support to learners in grades 8 to 12, three times a week, including a two week holiday programme the winter holidays. Learners drive the learning agenda but  bringing questions and problems that they are struggling with.

IkamvaYouth also runs computer literacy classes and career guidance workshops. Learners participate in various workshops including science practicals’ and photography workshops. IkamvaYouth partners with organisations that run workshops focused on Media, Image and Expression, and Health and Life Skills programmes. They also partner with organisations that hold voluntary HIV/AIDS counselling sessions and arrange for testing, twice a year, at each branch. IkamvaYouth has also built strong links with tertiary institutes across South Africa.

In grade 12 each learner is paired with a mentor who helps them with the processes of applying at tertiary institutes and for financial assistance. They also help learners with the transition from secondary schooling to tertiary education or employment.

The IkamvaYouth model relies on a group of volunteer tutors and mentors, mainly drawn from local university students and professionals. All volunteers have to sign a code of conduct and a child protection policy. More than half of the volunteers include former IkamvaYouth learners who have found success after the programme and who have returned to help others.

What we like about this organisation

  • IkamvaYouth has a good working relationship with the Department of Education and other stakeholders in the education sector such as the University of Cape Town, TSiBA and the Durban University of Technology.
  • The organisation’s model aims to have a tutor-to-learner ratio of 1: 5, thereby providing individual learner attention.
  • IkamvaYouth has a qualified management team and a good information management system and is not reliant on one person alone for direction and leadership.

What difference can your money make?

  • R10 000 will pay for two learners’ tutoring for one year
  • R250 000 will pay for two winter schools, which will train 300 learners and cover the costs for 60 volunteers
  • R750 000 will cover the cost of operating expenses for one branch for one year

Volunteering opportunities

  • Assistance with policy development
  • Assistance with up-scaling / managing growth
  • Mentors