Matching potential with expertise
Through his personal experience, Wilfred Isak April came to the realisation that being an intellectual and having a multitude of qualifications does not singlehandedly get you where you need to be professionally. He therefore established the Maltas club in order to give students a platform to grow as individuals and develop the necessary skills such as communication. Another aim is to match them with other youth and business associations in order for them to network and get themselves noticed for the skills they possess and what they can offer the business world.
Mainly focusing on exposure, the Maltas club is very focused on giving back to the community in the form of charity. “This teaches you a lot of other skills that you may not necessarily learn in a classroom,” said April. It also gives people a sense of purpose and belonging, knowing they have impacted somebody’s life according to April. Included in the club’s activities is the sanitary pad project, regular visits to local schools to give motivational talks to learners, as well as regular networking sessions with sponsors and other organisations.
Club members are scheduled to take an educational trip to Stellenbosch University to socialise with and learn from other students who are used to a different way of living. Furthermore, an international trip is scheduled for the end of the year.
With all these trips and travels, high costs are incurred which can be a bit much for an individual’s pocket. Local sponsors thus came on board and have funded the local trips to high schools and other projects taken on by the club. Some of their sponsors include FNB, Dinapama, Shoprite Checkers and more. The international trips however will be a financial responsibility of the club members and their relatives to finance. April explained that since the club takes pride in entrepreneurial skills development, this is a platform for the members to prove their entrepreneurial dedication.
In prior years, Maltas was formed of up to 25 members but the numbers have been decreasing gradually to date where only five members are now part of the group. The founder of the organisation has highlighted that commitment is a key characteristic for club members and the brand will not carry any dead weight in the form of people who only want to travel. Individual attention is now easily given to club members and April finds it easier to manage a smaller group compared to large numbers.
The board members of the club comprise of some of the sponsors, past members, Vice-president Nangoloh Mbumba and a handful of Unam students. Shane Husselmann, the secretary-general of the club said that he understands that the club exists to make students realise that they need to work for what they want and push them to achieve better.
Experiences of club members
Husselmann was personally approached by April, who is his lecturer, because he identified the potential in the young student. His role is to keep track of what happens in the Maltas club and keep record of their discussions in meetings and ensure that everybody knows their duties. The group will be travelling to Tsumkwe in May to motivate the grade 10 and 12 students to further their studies after high school. This trip will be fully funded by the sponsors. “We had a similar trip to Keetmanshoop earlier this year which was actually our bootcamp. We spent the entire Friday at Suiderlig school speaking about university life,” said Husselmann.
The group had a series of challenges to undergo before they could be selected for membership. These included an entrepreneurial challenge, a scavenger hunt as well as costume challenge, in addition to behavioural attributes and dedication. Husselman mentioned that he was confident throughout the challenges because he knew what he was working towards. “My highlights include added confidence and a changed approach towards people.”
The president has the duty to organise their next trip as well as set a programme and book their accommodation. This year, that is the job of Kemano van Wyk, who was the winner of the entrepreneurial challenge as well as the scavenger hunt. He is excited about their trip to Dr. Lema High School where he wants to make the teachers that once taught him proud once they see how well he has transformed into a well-groomed young man.
Van Wyk explained that for his entrepreneurial challenge, which was for the youth to make a turnover of N$200 from N$10 starting capital in one week, he cleaned his peers’ shoes for a cost of N$10. He chose this activity because he knew that selling snacks would be an easy route and he didn’t want to take the easy way out.
Benita Strauss, who was the president of the club in 2015, is now on the board along with the founder and some of the sponsors of the club. She expressed that she is honored to be a Maltas alumni and now being part of the board. The young woman voiced that being part of the club has boosted her confidence and made her independent. She added that through this club, she was able to complete a certificate in African leadership at the University of Stellenbosch.