Last night tbV and i attended the end of year function – AGM and celebration – of the local non-profit organisation Bottomup.
Who are Bottomup?
i will let them introduce themselves to you in their own words:
What is Bottomup?:
Bottomup positions itself as a catalyst for organizational change in the under-resourced schools in the Grassy Park, Lotus River and Ottery area. We aim to apply an assets based approach, assisting schools to leverage their existing resources and capitals toward the goal of improving school culture.
Bottomup believes that every child deserves the best education possible; one that nurtures their sense of pride, belonging and identity and offers them the skills to create a better future.
Train up a child
i find is so difficult to not hold hope for the future of South Africa. Having walked to a township with the creative rebels of Ujamaa Collective last week to attending last night’s Bottomup celebration to receiving an invitation from my friend Heidi from Outliers to attend the graduation of a number of their students, everywhere i look there are seeds of greatness and change being planted in the lives of the young people as well as in the soil of the ground…
What feels profoundly beautiful for me in a world where whiteness continues to cling tightly to the pedestal it elevated itself on for hundreds of years is that not one of these groups is led by a white person [disclaimer: i don’t hate white people!]. But rather people from the communities – many of which are regarded as places of death or despair, hopelessness and lack of opportunity – who looked up and said, “Let’s change the trajectory of this story…”
And now they are…
Let the children lead the way
Last night’s Bottomup meeting was a combination of hearing what the team of seven have been doing in the different schools they work in and then seeing it in action with a number of the children taking part in the programme. We got to hear two beautiful songs from a newly formed choir [bonus points for one of the songs having a subtle Monty Python connection possibly only i knew about] and listen to some conversation with some pupils from The Philosophy Club [i wonder if The First Rule of Philosophy Club is ‘Should Philosophy Club have rules?’], hear some stories from the camp, listen to poems and watch some video testimonies from the year.
One of the main focus points of Bottomup has been High School Dropout Prevention – being reminded that if one percent of students drop out then focusing on the students is important, but once you have a fifty percent dropout rate then it is systems and structures that need to be seriously addressed. One of the most exciting stories from Bottomup this year has been listening to Ashley and Helene explain how they have engaged with the learners so that they understand the need for structural and systemic change as opposed to simply putting bandaids over the symptoms.
This is not babysitting work… this is setting up young people for success in life and the possibility of seeing whole communities have the opportunity to change the path they are currently heading on.
Some of the places where the Bottomup team has chosen to work are “What good ever came from…?” kind of places and Ashley and the team look very well set to answer that question.
Changing things from the Bottom Up… check them out.
Who are some of the other organisations in South Africa you know who are doing good and being catalysts for great change? We need to be sharing their stories more!