Rays of Hope hosts an annual gala to celebrate their support groups for 2022.

Every year, Rays of Hope’s Vulnerable Children and Families Programme organises a Gala Dinner for the teenagers in the Alexandra community. This is a night for young women and men to dress up and leave their worries at home for an evening.

The 2022 gala dinner’s theme of the night was Maya Angelou’s ‘Still, I Rise’. The Gala Dinner is an initiative for teenagers to celebrate their commitment to change and becoming better versions of themselves.

“We want the lasting impact of these events to be a change in how the children see themselves and view their self-worth,” says Bertha Muchadeyi, Programme Manager for the Vulnerable at Rays of Hope.

“Just one evening can change their perspective and self-esteem and if they can finally see that despite their current situation, they matter, they are valued, and they have dignity, then we have done our job. This change and shift will have a ripple effect in other areas of their lives and could lead to total long-term independence, which is exactly what we aim to achieve at Rays of Hope,” she added.

The highlight of the night was crowning Mr and Ms Rays of Hope, an award given out to one man and woman who have shown growth and determination throughout the year.

For the ladies, the award was given to a young girl by the name of Christina Mbatha who was bullied by her peers and had numerous self-confidence issues. Now, through her one-on-one sessions with social workers at Rays of Hope, she has been able to see the value in herself and believe she could be the 2022 Ms Rays of Hope.

The young man who received the award was Vutlhare Manganyi. Vutlhare comes from a broken and violent home where both his parents are unemployed. Through counselling sessions with the team, he has been able to take meaningful steps toward overcoming these obstacles and craft a better future for himself.

‘I am so incredibly proud of both Vutlhare and Christina for winning these awards. They have both come so far and we can’t wait to see them realise their full potential over the next year”, concludes Muchadeyi.

On behalf of Rays of Hope, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) who made this night happen by offering the venue to us for free. It was a remarkably successful event, and we cannot wait to start planning for the next one!