And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Those of us who have lived through the Zuma era will never forget the sense of relief, that feeling of having a heavy load lifted, when for the first time in nine years a State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered with dignity, filled us with a glimmer of hope.
President Ramaphosa’s SONA has been scrutinized and analysed. In our latest blog we would like to emphasise the rallying call at the end of this address:
“Now is the time to lend a hand.
Now is the time for each of us to say ‘Send me’.
Now is the time for all of us to work together, in honour of Nelson Mandela, to build a new, better South Africa for all.”
It is plain for all to see; there is much (re)building to be done, much to be fixed. In his SONA, President Ramaphosa not surprisingly, highlighted that poverty and unemployment levels are on the rise, inequality persists, and for several years our economy has not grown at the pace required to create enough jobs or lift people out of poverty. It is obvious that rampant corruption and incompetence have rendered many a government department ineffectual.
It will take a collective collaborative effort by all South Africans to address the challenges highlighted above. The question is, will we say with Hugh Masekela (and thousands of years before him, Isaiah), “Send me”?
As you ponder this call to action, allow me to share a story that has encouraged us at IseeU to keep doing what we can to make this “new dawn” a reality. It is the story of women willing to go where they had never been before. This is the story of five Pioneers who responded to IseeU’s call and dared to say, “Send me”.
Towards the end of 2017 we approached a few ladies in our network to consider joining IseeU as volunteer mentors. On the 18th of January 2018, we welcomed five enthusiastic though slightly anxious, ladies to the first of four Mentor Training Sessions. The training sessions were designed to equip them with the skills and tools necessary to facilitate the three Grade 10 groups we recruited. A recurring theme that permeated our conversation that morning was the weight of responsibility associated with mentoring young ladies who have faced their fair share of difficulties, and now find themselves at a crucial junction in their lives. A concurrent theme was the feeling of inadequacy – some members of the team had never worked in the communities we serve; others had little to no experience working with teens; all felt overwhelmed. With the gentle encouragement of their trainer, the mentors discovered that by simply showing up, they were already making a difference.
Four weeks later and armed with fabulous facilitation tools, five eager Mentors embarked on their journey with 20 excited Mentees. We are grateful that these brave women in spite of their reservations, responded to our call with a resounding “Send me”. We salute them for pushing their boundaries and for not allowing their fears to curtail their contribution.
As you consider how you too can “lend a hand,” wherever you are whatever your strengths and skills, be encouraged by our IseeU Pioneer Mentors because: “Now is the time for all of us to work together. Together we are going to make history.”