Terry Bowen, speak first global training designer, visits the cape flats charity team

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28 October 2019
Written by Speak First Linked-in icon

Terry and the CFYDP team standing with their new minibus

Since working at Speak First, I’ve had many opportunities to learn new things and gain valuable life experiences. Even at my age I’m still learning new things!

Through the Speak First Foundation, the company supports a charity in Cape Town, South Africa called the Cape Flats Youth Development Project. They give young vulnerable children living in the townships help to get a better start in life by giving them an education. They also support families in looking after their children and give advice to young girls should they fall pregnant.

I was going on holiday to South Africa to do the usual touristy things, such as Graskop and The Kruger National Park when Speak First’s CEO, Amanda Vickers, had just returned from visiting the charity and gave a very inspiring presentation on what she did and saw while in Cape Town. I thought to myself that’s something I’d like to get involved with too! But how?

My partner and I were going to Johannesburg then off to the Kruger National Park, and the charity was all the way to Cape Town! I spoke to Amanda and she replied, “Well, Cape Town is only two hours away by plane!” The next thing I knew I was speaking with Ester Uys, the CEO of the Cape Flats charity, about running one of our training sessions for them.

We took a lot of presents for the children. They really liked the colouring books and, as many of the children have special educational needs, balloons help them focus while they’re studying.

On Monday 22nd July 2019, I conducted my training: an introduction to effective communication and team building. As you can see from my photos, it went very well, particularly since it was winter in Cape Town – so they were freezing in the classroom!

We got a tour of the areaAfter the training, we were taken on a tour of the township, something that’s offered to tourists in Cape Town. This was a real eye opener for me: they live in wooden sheds with corrugated iron roofs. There’s no insulation and they get their electricity directly from the electric pylons – which is a highly dangerous. I was told that at least three people die every day from electrocution from these pylons.

Even though they don’t have the latest gadgets there does appear to be hope.

You see groups of men gathering near the junctions of roads, looking for work and will do literally anything. They try their best to improve their lives, but it really is an uphill struggle.

The charity makes a huge difference to the difficult lives of the people living in these townships. They successfully get children into school, which helps them be able to achieve something with their lives.
Ester wants to expand their services in order to get the adults involved in helping their children. They’re aiming to set up after school activities involving parents and children together.

Running training for Ester and the CFYDP team

The school is called ‘Ithemba’, which means ‘Hope’ in English, something the youngsters desperately need to get a better life. The Speak First Foundation’s latest contribution was paying for a minibus and driver to help transport children to school and carry out after school activities. We’ve also supported the hiring of more mentors to live in the community and help the children.

The Speak First Foundation is delighted to be able to help the children of the Cape Town Flats. 2.5% of all of Speak First profits go towards the Foundation to support this and other educational charities around the world. When you book one of our courses, you’re contributing towards improving the lives of these children.

Terry Bowen, Senior Global Training Designer


Speak First donates 2.5% of its net profits to support children in need of education around the world. Find out more about the causes we help.