Conducting Interviews

Just one more thing . . .

In order to gain a thorough understanding of Maitland Garden Village and its strengths, the team conducted conversational interviews with a variety of community members:

Carol Booysen – Crèche Principal

The interview with Principal Booysen demonstrated the trust that the team had developed with the community.  Principal Booysen opened up to the group about her childhood and how she overcame serious obstacles to grow into a successful and powerful woman.  From Principal Booysen’s story, the team was inspired to help the youth of MGV to realize their potentials and to rise above their situations to accomplish more in of life.  The children are the community’s future and the community should therefore invest its resources in helping them to grow.  These lessons aided significantly in the planning of the youth and community development program.  In addition, the group learned a great deal about the history of the crèche and how it grew to be successful.  In this way, they were better prepared to set up a community initiative that would also be successful by achieving community motivation.  Finally, the group learned about potential funding opportunities for the development program – those organizations that have been known to sponsor the crèche.

Alistair – MGV resident involved in Village Day planning

The main message that came across from the team’s interview with Mr. Alistair was that the key to MGV overcoming their challenges lies in the youth.  If we help the children, we could put an end to a lot of the community problems before they start.  He was also realistic about the problems that the group is facing because he understands that helping the youth goes beyond just keeping them busy, there are deeper psychological issues that are present.  Mr. Alistair made it clear to the group that motivating the entire community behind a vision is key to success.

Ms. October (Principal) and Twelve Teachers from the Primary School

The Principal and teachers of the primary school were invaluable due to the information that they could provide in relation to what it was that the youth are interested in.  From this information, the group could hope to include activities in their program that will actually motivate the youth to be involved.  The teachers also provided valuable insight into how youth talent development unfortunately ends at school due to a lack of parental support.

Group of First Grade Primary School Students

Getting to know the young students in the primary school allowed the team to get some information from the youth themselves that were uninhibited.  From these interactions, they learned that the children have aspirations from an early age to be doctors, kings and princesses, etc.  The ability to dream, therefore, is there when they are young, but they tend to lose sight of their dreams as they grow into adolescence.  More was also learned about the kind of activities in which youth would be interested.

Seventh Grade Class at the Primary School

The team sat in on a seventh grade math class in order to gain an understanding of the forces playing on the youth in an educational environment.  The students participated very actively in the class and were respectful of their teacher, calling him “Sir” when they spoke to him.  The teacher showed the applicability of their studies in the “real world” very dynamically and encouraged his students to “aim high,” “dream big,” and to share their dreams with others.  From these observations, it seems as if the youth receive positive support while they are at the primary school age; but the ages that need more attention through the development program are the youth aged about 13-21.

Mr. Garrett and Ms. Alice – Leaders of the MGV Anglican Church Youth Group

By speaking with adults who were already leading a youth program in the community, the team hoped to gain insight into how to run a successful development program.  They were told to be mindful of the fact that each child is different and that one does not want anyone to fall through the cracks.  Therefore, the group made sure to include a variety of activities in their program to embrace diverse interests.  It was also revealed that the key to helping children is to let them know that they are special and that there is someone who believes in them.  Encouraging a child’s dreams is essential to him overcoming his situation.

Charnell Hendricks – A former employee of Cape Youth Care (youth development program)

Ms. Charnell Hendricks was very adamant that the youth in MGV are extremely talented!  The problem is that they do not have an outlet for exploring and developing their talents.  That is where the team’s program could step in.  Ms. Hendricks also stressed the importance of good parenting and discipline.