Qraters’ Voices: Let’s Create the Change we want to see

Qraters’ Voices: Let’s Create the Change we want to see

Hi my name is Faeeza Lok.

I am the founder of Voice of the People Movement. Voice of the People Movement was launched this year in April and our goal is to build stronger communities.

The Voice of the People Movement Team
The VOTP team out in Tembisa doing their FIRST community programme! Go team!

We recently launched our first community programme called the Community Enhancement Program (CEP). It was borne out of the belief in order for us to create a better world, we need to create a stronger community and we do that by enhancing the way we connect and relate with each other in the truest sense of Ubuntu.

Strong communities talk to each other and for the past 7 days, we went door to door in Tembisa. We listened and learned from community members on the challenges they face so that we can co-create solutions together. Through that experience I wanted to share THREE things I have learned from the program.

1) The pandemic has shown us we are all intrinsically linked with one another.

All of us share common aspirations- we all want to live in peace and security; to be educated, to work with dignity, to love our families and our communities. we should not be distracted by our differences, rather celebrate our commonalities. That should be the driving force behind our collective vision.

2) The future we want to create requires us to use our imaginations and be open to learn, unlearn and relearn.

The one thing which is constant is change, but when you are open to growth, you see every challenge in front of you as a way to grow and develop as a person, rather than a hinderance. Through this program, we saw positive behaviour change in our team leading and creating change around themselves and their environment independently. When you choose to grow as a person, we grow as a community.

The Voice of the Community Movement interacting with local community members

3) Change is always possible when people feel they are involved and listened to.

Feedback and knowledge sharing is part of our culture. We involve community members to co-create solutions and provide feedback on how we can improve as a movement. The goal of every organization is not to solve problems but to make the organization better, we make the organization better but creating a culture of inclusivity. We must be mindful that every voice is involved in the conversation, that every person feels comfortable to join in and offer his or her own perspective. Therefore creating a feeling of belonging and inclusion for everyone in the community.

4) Innovation is not the search for one big idea but the ability to implement small ideas which have a powerful cumulative impact.

As simple and small as starting a WhatsApp group. If you want to learn more about how grassroots organization work, if you want to become a community organiser, a change maker in your community, being part of a grassroots organiser is an opportunity to network, upscale and create change. Let’s help make South Africa better, let’s grow our community together.

Join us and let’s continue to commit ourselves to the future that we want to see.

About the Author

Faeeza Lok is a social entrepreneur, a bunny chow lover and the founder of Voice of the People Movement. Her ambition is to seek partnerships with more organisations to bring equality for all under represented persons.

Follow VOTP on social media:

Join their WhatsApp Group: +27 73 411 0046 | Instagram: @voice_za Facebook: @votp.za Twitter: @votp_za Tik Tok: @votp_za

Qrate delivers another powerful Menstruation Workshop at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Annual Summit 

Qrate delivers another powerful Menstruation Workshop at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Annual Summit 

Hello Qraters! 

On the 17th of July, Qrate hosted a workshop for 60 participants for the JGF Annual Summit. We spent an hour teaching the participants about Menstrual Health Education and they learnt a lot about themselves and their bodies. 

Qrate Menstrual Workshop at the JGF Annual Summit 2022

Workshop Activities:

The fun-filled and jam-packed workshop kickstarted with a video that took the participants on a visual journey of the experience of the first period in a world of full-fledged positivity and support for periods. The video was a thought-provoking launchpad that set up an interesting conversation to ease into the workshop.

The workshop included an eye-opening quiz that assisted the participants to debunk numerous menstrual myths and taboos. The quiz exposed the participants to glaring statistics that illustrated the sheer magnitude and impact of menstrual inequity that persists in society. This activity aided to contextualise the challenging circumstances that millions of menstruators face throughout the globe.

The activities that followed suit were all about empowering the participants to get comfortable with openly using menstrual jargon with pride and confidence. To take it a notch further, the participants also engaged in an interactive session about the different types of menstrual products and their varied applications. The Qrate team can proudly affirm that the world now has a fresh group of young adults who are knowledgeable about the different menstrual product options and their uses.

Workshop Outcomes:

The workshop highlighted to the participants that menstrual inequity is everyone’s problem therefore, it requires everyone to work toward breaking the period stigma. The JGF Annual Summit participants reflected this sentiment as they all actively engaged with the content of the workshop. In addition, the participants took on a period pledge to confirm their commitment to advocating for menstrual health.

A lot of work needs to be done to protect the human rights of menstruators. The bottom line is that change starts with rejecting period shaming and embracing period positivity. This change needs to be driven by awareness raising and menstrual education for everyone.

Let’s change mindsets and overturn regressive systems!

Workshop Reflections: 

Qrate workshop team and the JGF project manager

The project manager of JGF, Jade Glenn was incredibly impressed by the dynamic way the workshop was conducted and how the facilitators made the fellows have fun on a topic that is often seen as awkward.

One of the workshop participants enthusiastically shared that the workshop equipped them with the tools and knowledge to educate and empower young girls in their community on menstrual health – now this is what we call a domino effect!

We are honoured to have hosted this workshop in collaboration with JGF. We are looking forward to more stimulating workshops!

Qrate workshop certificates

If you’d like your organisation to experience the Qrate Menstruation Workshop, please send an email to info@qrate.org.za 

Critical Thinking 4 Kids

South Africa is a country that has a rich and diverse history which influences the social and political contemporary issues that are deeply contested today. Despite these challenges, we have a total population of 55.6 million people, 36.2% of which are young people. However, the youth face the great burden of lacking critical engagement skill with socio-political issues that affect them.

Through a series of blog posts, Qrate will discuss and tackle various social issues that as an organization believes that children should be open-minded towards and willing to hold discussions amongst their peers, teachers, and parents. These blog posts will be helpful for parents, guardians, and teachers to engage in discussions with the youth of today.

Our first blog post is centered on understanding the importance of critical thinkers for young children.

What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking consists of different skills that help us learn to make decisions. It is the ability to evaluate information to determine whether it is right or wrong.

To think critically about an issue or a problem means to be open-minded and consider alternative ways of looking at situations.

Critical thinking has become a buzzword thrown about in educational and economic discourse with few doubting its importance.

“Critical thinking is the ability to ask difficult questions in the right way at the right time. It It is a willingness to challenge prevailing assumptions whilst acknowledging the limits of your knowledge. It is a desire to know and a lifelong passion for learning.”

The first myth about critical thinking is the claim that we measure a learner’s critical thinking ability. Teachers are, understandably concerned with justifying the curriculum and the percentage progress typically serves this purpose. If schools are to teach students how to think critically, creatively and independently, we need to rethink how we conceptualize scholastic achievement.

The second myth is about the methods of questioning. Too often I have heard phrases like “question everything” linked with critical thinking. A willingness to question one’s certainties is a key component of rational investigation, but it is the way we ask questions that make the difference.

A critical thinker asks questions that are relevant to the matter at hand and knows how to make sound judgments about the information they receive. They also know when they do not have enough information to make an informed decision.

To be good at thinking, children must believe that thinking is fun and want to be good at it. Parents, guardians, and teachers have the power to make that happen.

In teaching children to think critically, we’re doing them not only a favor but the highest service. Children throughout their lives will be expected to go through a lot of information and using that information – they will have to make choices.

And schools are not the only sole source of knowledge!

In the ever-changing world of technology and easier access to information – it is crucial that children are equipped with the right skills to analyze information.

If critical thinking nurtures a lifelong passion for learning, then we teach children to love thinking for its own sake. Learning becomes its own reward. Passionate learners contribute to a productive classroom and may offer a way to engage those who would otherwise fall behind.

The ability to analyze critically the information we encounter, to put it into its appropriate context and extract insights without falling into prejudice is the antidote. 

A society that thinks is infinitely harder to fool than one that can’t or won’t.

How can you get children to be critical thinkers? 

Critical thinking is a way of asking questions to help a child find answers themselves, rather than answering them for them. It’s about providing a safe place and giving the opportunity for your child to respond without judgment or interruption.

At QRATE, we developed handy tips for helping children learn to think better. Teach these to your children and then interact with them in ways that reinforce these standards.

  1. Be CLEAR. Invite children to be clear by asking for explanations and examples when they don’t understand something. Let children know it is okay to be confused and ask questions. 
  2. Be ACCURATE. Urge kids to be accurate to check to see if something is true by researching the facts. 
  3. Be RELEVANT. Encourage children to be relevant by discussing other topics that are important to the discussion or problem at hand. Help them stay on track by linking related and meaningful information to the question they are trying to answer or the topic they are learning about. 
  4. Be LOGICAL. Help them see how things fit together. Question how they came to their conclusions and whether their assumptions are correct. 
  5. Be FAIR. Set expectations that your child be fair. Promote empathy in their thinking processes. Make sure that they are considerate of others when drawing conclusions. 

By Candice Chirwa & Josh Nel

Here’s to raising a generation of critical thinkers! 

Candice Chirwa is a Masters of Arts International Relations student at the University of Witwatersrand. She is the Founder and Director of Qrate. In her spare time, Candice loves tutoring her High School and University students as well as drinking coffee (lots of it). 

Josh Nel is a Masters of Arts Philosophy student at the University of Witwatersrand. In his spare time, Josh loves reading political philosophy books.