Ignition Youth Development Programme

From school -> into tertiary studies -> into first employment

  • I can heartily affirm that Ignition contributed significantly to my academic success through their seminars and mentoring. The Ignition programme still adds value to my professional growth through the meetings my mentor and I enthusiastically hold.  –  Bruce C. (Education, P)

  • Ignition is a great program and I know for a fact that without this program, my life could have turned out differently.  Thank you for believing in us and may God continue blessing everyone that is part of changing the students’ lives – Faith N. (Oral Hygiene, Wits)

  • I am going on for my second qualification only because of the fighting spirit, positive mind-set Ignition has installed in me. I could not have asked for a better family than Ignition. I am truly grateful – Monica F. (Emergency First Responder and then Nursing)

  • The seminar gave me hope and a huge bit of faith in myself. During my orientation week, we had maths lessons just to get our minds working but I noticed that I didn’t know or even understand anything being said. Just as I was to give up and sleep, I remembered a lesson from the seminar about setting huge goals for oneself. And a thought hit me…maybe it was okay to not understand a thing because now I can have a strategy to focus & filter the information. What needs to be done? The question ran through mind, possibly bloodstream as well. I raised my hand and the lecturer came and assisted me and I didn’t care what others thought. The seminar really was of big use and I thank God that I was able to seize the moment. – Roresang M. (Computer Science, UJ)

  • Ignition looks at the entire person and was an amazing support for me when I had difficulties in my life.  Angela Hiliza-Ellensson (BCom Accounts, UJ)

  • I am having a beautiful, interesting journey.  I now have ‘two new mothers’ who help me get back on my feet when things are bad.  Ignition has taught me to face the consequences of my actions.  I have learned about life as well as academic stuff.  Ignition is like another family. – Nokuthula S. (BioMedical Technology, Vaal Tech)

  • Ignition is more than a programme.  It’s a family, a community.  I learned that the petrol for the vehicle is passion and that, usually, hard work beats talent.  Thanks to Ignition, I have my first house. – Mpho M. (Information Technology, Damelin)

  • Thank you so much for everything you and Ignition have done for me. Honestly I don’t know where I would have been without you. May God bless you and your team abundantly – Montle T. (BCom Wits)

  • I am writing this message to thank Ignition as a whole for helping me out during difficult times. Today I am a better person because of Ignition. I received my first year marks and that are fantastic, all thank for the mentor he is the kindest and supportive of all times.  Thank you very much – Maxwell Z. (Education, TUT)

  • On paper, you are my mentor but in my heart you are more than that. Thank you for always pushing me to change, to be better and to excel. – Notokozo M. (Hospitality, UJ)

Hloni lived with her aunt in a two-roomed house shared by twenty people, where only one person had a job. Terrence is an orphan and was shifted between different families. Vuyisani has a speech impediment which makes communication hard. Kopotso has two loving and supportive parents. What do they and the other students in the Ignition Programme have in common? They all lived in poverty in Alexandra Township, they have all persevered through high school and qualified for tertiary education, but their chances of succeeding on their own is slim.

“The Department of Higher Education released a report in 2015 highlighting that 47.9% of university students did not complete their degrees. Black students had the highest drop-out rate, with 32.1% leaving in their first year”. Business Day, March 2017. 

Our aim at Ignition is to overcome the obstacles faced by disadvantaged youth from Alexandra so that they can break out of poverty and lift their families with them. We do this primarily through education and mentoring.

Continuing Hloni’s story from the first paragraph. She graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a degree in Human Resources in 2016. She now has a permanent job and lives in her own apartment with her two children. She is positive about her future and is excited about all the books that she can buy her children.

When Ignition started in 2008, the biggest obstacle students faced was paying their tertiary institution fees. But since #FeesMustFall in 2015, tuition fees have been paid by the government and other obstacles have gained priority. A significant gap remains in the provision of essential supplementary services that increase the likelihood of academic success and smooth transition into the workforce.  Our approach is holistic, focusing not just on academic success, but also on personal development, mental health, and workplace skills. We support youth throughout their studies as well as their first year of work. A beneficiary will usually be in the programme for five years.

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Our success is in the stories of our alumni.  But it is also measured by the average pass rate of university courses that our students are enrolled in, as well as the student’s participation in Ignition interventions such as the number of mentoring meetings and seminar attendance. Since 2015, our average pass rate has been above 85%, with 16% of the course marks being distinctions. In 2022 there were over 600 mentoring hours spent with our thirty students.

We are proud to say that many of our students have gone on to successful careers in a wide variety of fields, including laboratory technicians, microbiology, HR, airline ground crew, engineering, accounting, oral hygiene, fitting & turning, hospitality, social work and education. We also have an active alumni group that we stay in touch with. Alumni often present to our students, they become mentors and are part of our investing education club.

At Ignition, we believe that everyone deserves access to quality education and the resources needed to succeed. We are committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent young people from reaching their full potential and creating a brighter future.


If you would like to support our mission, please consider making a donation, volunteering as a mentor or providing job shadowing opportunities. Together, we can ignite the potential of young people in Alexandra to impact South Africa.

Join our mission to break barriers and unlock opportunities for the next generation:

  • Make a donation of any size (the annual cost of supporting an individual student is R20 000)
  • Offer job shadowing or vacation work
  • Volunteer as a mentor or fundraiser

Contact: [email protected]

Ignition’s Bank Account:
Rays of Hope Tertiary Education Fund
Nedbank Hyde Park (code: 1972 05)
Account: 1972169858

Kindly reference “Ignition” on all donations

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