Sharing the fruits of education
Iréne-Mari van der Walt
Kinisha Evenson, a grade 12 student at Swakopmund Secondary School (SSS) is excited about what the coming year may bring for her Say Yes to Education Foundation.
She explains that the foundation has rather humble origins. “My dad has two farmworkers on his farm and they each have a son. I remember sitting with them one day and I asked them what they wanted to be. The oldest boy said he wanted to become a policeman, but he couldn’t because he wasn’t going to school,” she recalls.
Evenson also remembers the youngest boy, who is currently five years old, telling her that he wanted to learn to write his own name. “I immediately wanted to help them. I told my dad that I would buy some notebooks and stationery so they could learn to read and write and it started from there.”
She explains that this project was her own from the very beginning. “I never asked my parents to help. I told them about the project but I never wanted them to feel like they just had to give money away.”
Kinisha says she used her My Zone school newspaper to help spread the word of her work. “I had no team members; I did everything by myself and I wrote about the foundation for my school newspaper and I had people from schools all over town asking to volunteer.” Evenson then compiled a team of 24 volunteers.
The new year, however, has brought abundance. Evenson says more than 100 people have applied to volunteer for the foundation, but she had to turn the majority of them away. “I now have 42 volunteers, which will already be tough to manage. I’d like to take all of them, but we are full.”
Evenson hopes to host a movie night for less fortunate children. “I want them to be smaller children so I know I can manage the discipline,” she says.
“One of my mentors said that she could lend us a projector and, for now, it will be held at the Tamariskia Community Hall,” Evenson explains.
The Say Yes to Education Foundation currently has no sponsors, but Evenson is proud to say that they are hard at work to get a business on board in growing the foundation to greater heights.