On the 26th of May we invited the community to take part in the annual Joza Youth Hub Open Day. The different organizations based at the Joza Youth Hub were showcasing their work in form of competitions and workshops.
In case you are not familiar with the Joza Youth Hub, here's a short description: The Joza Youth Hub (JYH) is a collective of six NGOs from Grahamstown operating on the premises next to the Makana Housing Department in Joza Location. One of the Youth Hubbers is Access Music Project (AMP), who give free music education to young people from Grahamstown and try to empower them through the use and studies of music. There are the Joza Chess and Reading clubs who focus on smaller children and try to interest them in playing chess and reading for leisure purposes. Another member of the JYH-family is upstart! who are trying to empower local youths through the use of journalistic work such as citizen reporting and giving them a space in which they can write and publish about the things that move them most. The Toy Library, which is aimed at supporting pre-school and kindergarden-aged children, lends out toys with which the children can play on the premises of the Joza Youth Hub and help them develop cognitive skills more easily. Last but not least there is awarenet, we are an organization that aims to improve computer literacy in the underprivileged areas of Grahamstown by giving community members free access to a computer lab as well as Internet. We also offer specific courses with which we try to improve the computer skills of our members in more advanced areas such as video-editing and critical writing.
This years' Joza Youth Hub Open Day was organized by my fellow volunteer and friend, Max Resch, and we tried our best to make this event as memorable as can be. The event structure itself was quite decentralized with each JYH member organizing their own competitions, therefore the main task was to organize a time schedule working for everyone while keeping the action constant so that the visitors would not get bored after a while. Another main task during the organizing phase was marketing, different JYH members agreed to use their community outreach to attract as many visitors as possible. After the organization phase all members were eager to see how the Open Day would work out.
Starting at 10:00 in the morning, competitions and activities were highly frequented with community members of all ages. Local bistro owners were also invited to support the entrepreneurial development of Joza location as well. The local traffic playground was opened and an official from the Traffic Department educated the youngest visitors about how to behave in traffic and how we should respect each other. The Joza Chess Club held a puzzle as well as multiple chess tournaments for their members as well as for the visitors. The Joza Reading Club was giving and raffling away books and other great prizes. Upstart was holding multiple competitions, a poetry competition resembling poetry slams normally only to be seen in metropoles, as well as a singing and dancing competition. awarenet was running multiple computer competitions focusing on general IT knowledge as well as local and national history and international polititics. AMP's current intern and talented dancer, Yolanda, was offering a dance workshop during the morning and AMP itself presented their best artists in an orchestra appearance which would end the Open Day.
Almost all competitions were offering prizes and among them were books and airtime slips with the goal of empowering the local youths. We also want to thank our sponsors for offering prizes as well as discounted food and drinks.
In conclusion one can say that the 2018 Joza Youth Hub Open Day was an all-out success with 250 to 300 visitors actively involved and lots of fun being had. We are continuing to increase our community outreach and as of right now, more and more youths use the Joza Youth Hub as a safe recreational ground, whether they are members of our organizations or not.