Kamogelo Shabalala

The Zinhle Foundation

What does your company do?

The Zinhle Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young boys through literacy and mentorship initiatives. By focusing on teaching literacy skills such as reading and writing, and pairing participants with positive male role models, the foundation aims to cultivate a generation of well-rounded young men. These mentors serve as guides, imparting valuable life lessons and modeling positive behaviors, ultimately striving to prevent issues like gender-based violence, substance abuse, premature incarceration, and other destructive behaviors. Through education and mentorship, the Zinhle Foundation endeavors to create a supportive environment where boys can thrive and contribute positively to society.

What is your biggest success?

The Zinhle Foundation's most notable achievement is the successful transformation of ten young boys into fluent readers who now find joy and fulfillment in reading for leisure. This accomplishment represents more than just improved literacy skills; it signifies a profound shift in these boys' lives. By mastering the art of reading fluently, these boys have gained access to a world of knowledge and imagination previously beyond their reach. They now have the ability to engage with literature on a deeper level, expanding their horizons and nurturing their intellectual curiosity. Moreover, the foundation's achievement goes beyond the acquisition of a skill; it embodies empowerment and self-confidence. These boys have not only unlocked the door to educational opportunities but also gained a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities. Furthermore, by instilling a love for reading, the Zinhle Foundation has laid the foundation for a lifelong habit that will continue to enrich these boys' lives in countless ways. Through this singular achievement, the foundation has made a lasting impact on the individuals involved and the community as a whole, demonstrating the transformative power of education and mentorship.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

The Zinhle Foundation's most significant hurdle has been overcoming barriers to engaging boys in the program. Initially, generating interest and participation proved challenging, as some boys were hesitant to join due to various factors. Limited resources posed another obstacle, particularly concerning the availability of books in the library, restricting the foundation's ability to provide diverse reading materials crucial for fostering literacy skills and enthusiasm for reading. Moreover, the foundation faced difficulties in recruiting volunteers, resulting in understaffing and placing additional strain on existing resources. With fewer mentors available, the capacity to provide personalized mentorship and support to each participant was compromised, impacting the effectiveness of the program. Despite these challenges, the Zinhle Foundation has persevered, implementing creative strategies to attract boys to the program, advocating for additional resources to expand the library's collection, and actively recruiting volunteers from the community. Through resilience and determination, the foundation continues to surmount these hurdles, recognizing that each obstacle presents an opportunity for growth and improvement in their mission to empower young boys through literacy and mentorship.