Banele is a 17-year-old young man who resides in Alexandra with his mother and his sister. He is also a leader and a peace ambassador for the boy’s support group at Rays of Hope. Despite being raised by a single mother and having a sister who survives on oxygen every single day, Banele has not allowed his circumstances to define him and has decided to make his life count.

Because of what was happening at home and being bullied at his previous school, Banele had begun to lose focus and his performance at school was being affected. Realising what this could mean for his future, he decided to change his trajectory while he was still young. Being from a township like Alexandra, many young boys end up on the wrong path because of their personal circumstances.

In 2021, Banele met with a social worker at Rays of Hope and asked to be moved from his township school to somewhere where he could focus and be himself. Rays of Hope, through their sponsors, managed to secure a 4-year bursary at Sparrow FET college. Banele grabbed this opportunity with both hands. To help him excel in his academics and improve his mental health, Banele decided to join the basketball team at school. Thanks to the assistance provided by Rays of Hope and the school, Banele started to shine at school until he became the top Hospitality learner.

Sparrow FET College is an award-winning skills development training solutions partner, specializing in Artisan Skills and Disability Solutions. Students who go through Sparrow College can get jobs after completing their qualifications and, for Banele, this means that he will be able to support himself and his family.

“Most of the time, children are afraid to ask for help because they don’t want to be a burden on others, or they are embarrassed by their situation and what people will think”, says Bertha Muchadeyi, Programme Manager for the Vulnerable at Rays of Hope. “What we want to help them learn is that people can make the decision to alter their life, regardless of their circumstances. Banele made the necessary adjustment to his life and is doing his best to ensure his family does not suffer.”

Rays of Hope would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors as well as Sparrow School for allowing Banele the opportunity to reach his full potential and help Rays of Hope give the community greater independence.