AkukhanYa started as an educational consultancy in 2005 and evolved over the years into a training company with a niche market in AET (Adult Education & Training) and developmental learnerships | qualifications | skills programmes training company. Both as an offsite and onsite training solution. We work in close partnership with a number of other training providers, especially " Getting to Know English " in Pretoria and " Out of the Box " in Germiston and Albertskroon.
Our vision ...
is to provide education initiatives that inspire learners to find their personal dignity, develop self-respect & respect for others, and rediscover hope.
MEANING OF AKUKHANYA
UkukhanYa means LIGHT.
AkukhanYa has been derived from the Zulu word UkukhanYa and our goal is to bring light into people's lives through educational initiatives that are life changing light bulb moments.
It is not about a COMPANY
It is about a very dedicated team, about unemployed learners, about nurturing hope & dignity & self-respect
It is about playing the infinite - long term - game in education.
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Let me tell you the story of our amazing staff and the partners in AkukhanYa...
Our staff members were all originally students - learners of AkukhanYa. Each and every one of them, with the exception of our accountant, training manager, and founder member, came to AkukhanYa as an unemployed learner, a youth, a South African with little hope for a great future. Their first course was a short skills programme with some computer training and some presentation skills. Really just an intro into the world of business. This was back in 2016. It was a group of 30 learners, 15 male, and 15 female. In 2017 we offered our first learnership and we extended the invitation to all 30 learners to join that learnership. A group of them accepted the invitation and embarked on a business administration journey. In 2018, the same company offered the same learners the opportunity to extend their learnership for another year at a higher NQF level. Again, only some of them accepted that offer and completed another year of learning. In 2019 we offered an internship to those learners still interested in improving their practical business skills. Over 3 years some of the original group (we have offered a number of learnerships for a number of companies in this period) fell away for various reasons, but this core group of unemployed youth gave it their ALL. Each one of them evolved into their own area of passion and skill-sets. They were eager to learn, they were eager to not just be employed but be PART of a team that served a purpose. In 2020 NINE of the original group was still committed, positive, full of enthusiasm for what AkukhanYa stands for, and passionate about our team, and our work.
February 2020 we offered them full employment in AkukhanYa. They deserved it, it was no window dressing. Yes, they were young and inexperienced, but each and everyone rose to the challenge before them. They were coached and mentored, they did online courses in their specific area of operation in the company. They read books and watched YouTube videos and they were not afraid to ask for help or guidance.
We would not have grown into the company we are now if not for this team of dedicated young people.
THEN, March 2020 hit teh country, and all training came to a standstill. We literally had no income and we had to go on lockdown like the rest of the country. Our learners do not have access to data, therefore, online training and Zoom meetings are not an option for them.
In June 2020 we opened our doors again, and the first day I did not know if any of them will return. They have not been paid a salary for THREE months and they did not know what the future will hold for AkukhanYa. Were we going to survive? Were we be able to continue with what we do?
AND, every single one of them arrived on time, at work, with a smile on their faces. We had a meeting to inform everyone of the situation at the company and told them there is no guarantee that AkukhanYa will survive this economic disaster we are in. Their answer... they are staying. They are committed to AkukhanYa and they believe we WILL overcome this obstacle. Never in my life have I been prouder of anyone than at that moment.
We continued with the training of all our learnership groups to catch up on lost time and at the end of June 2020, there was still no salary for anyone. YET, all of them arrived at work every day. They gave their all. They worked hard and they brainstormed non-stop how we could turn things around. In July 2020 we were blessed with a great learnership contract and we could back pay staff, we could cover our costs and we could upgrade the facilities. Our learners all returned, even those who did not have a learnership, but whom we sponsored on their training pre-March 2020. We kept our commitment to our clients, and to our learners.
Despite the new contract we had, plus small ones that continued from pre-March 2020, no additional contracts came in. The contracts we had lined up were all pushed back to 2021 and we have a number signed up for February 2021, but nothing for right then. Needless to say, we had a cash flow problem. The income we had was sufficient to continue with training, overheads, and keeping AkukhanYa's doors open but not for salaries and paying additional skills trainers. Again, our team had the option to walk away. They were now paying to get to work out of their own pockets, they brought their own lunches and drinks. AND STILL, they came to work every day. They did not only come to work but they also came with that same positive energy, the same commitment, the same drive to make AkukhanYa a great company.
This is a team worth supporting and worth giving a salary to. This campaign is as much for this team, as it is for our skills trainers, and our unemployed youth. It is to honour their dedication and commitment.
There is even more beauty to this story. In June 2020 when our staff stayed, we offered two of these 2016 learners a partnership in the business. One of them, Tina Lephoto, came to us. not as one of the original 30 sponsored learners, but arrived at our Germiston training hub one day looking for a job. She was so beautifully dressed. In high heels, a professional suit, and with her CV in her hand. She had been out of work for a while, as she was retrenched when teh company she worked at had closed down. Someone told her there MIGHT be a possibility of work at this place called Out of the Box in Germiston. At that time AkukhanYa was only using one of the training rooms at the Out of the Box for training. She landed in my office by "chance" and we could not offer her a job, but we offered her the opportunity to join training free of charge. Something made her say YES and the rest is history. Tina is now not only a partner in AkukhanYa but our CEO. A brilliant, talented, dedicated, smart, savvy CEO. AkukhanYa would not have grown to where we are today if not for her.
The other partner, Conny Matsaung, is a hustler, a true entrepreneur. Always looking for a way to support herself and her two boys. She did not believe in herself when she came to us in 2016, now we cannot operate without her here. Conny always grabs any opportunity coming her way to learn more, to grow, to become better at was she does. Even if that means making atchar, or buying and selling goods, enrolling in a community training project offered by Raizcorp.
We were four partners, me, the founder of AkukhanYa, Sanette du Plessis who was with AkukhanYa 10 years in May 2020, Tina & Conny. Sadly, Sanette's fiance got a job in Port Elizabeth after the disaster of lockdown and they relocated. Now we are three partners in AkukhanYa, with a dedicated team. If there was ever a group of people who deserve support, it is this team of AkukhanYa. We had new contracts coming in in 2021 but there was a backlog and we do need some cash infusion to grow back to where we were prior to March 2020.
The KhuYa Campaign was an idea born and developed by this group of people, not just for their own salaries - which is a reality - but also for the learners we support, for the communities (our communities) we work in, for the skills trainers who lost all their income and for our partners in training. We can honestly say that Out of the Box was a MAJOR catalyst in the growth of AkukhanYa. (Please read their story here and here.)
And as they say in the adverts, there is even more. AkukhanYa owns everything we have achieved over the past 4 years to our amazing accreditation partner, Getting to Know English Centre. That is a whole story of serendipity that collided with our Out of the Box partnerships and that first training contract at Out of the Box in 2016. It is a beautiful story of how it all came together to allow AkukhanYa to grown into the training company we have become, and how this team became a reality. We will not share that story here, but it is truly a beautiful story that we would love to tell you about one day when we meet.
Thank you for having given us your time and having read all this.
Jacqueline Klem - Principal & Founder of AkukhanYa with all its @A divisions.
The AkukhanYa Wishlist
First and foremost we wish to get over this cashflow hump so that AkukhanYa can grow strong and be able to do what we love most - training off unemployed and employed learners in 2021 - 2022 - 2023 & beyond
We also would love to expand our facilities so we can do even more of what we do so very well. We have the opportunity at our current premises, but that would mean higher rent and some remodeling.
We want to build a computer centre that is open to the community 24/7/364 - where anyone has access to the internet and all the magnificent resources available on it.
We need partners for our skills training initiatives, as well as sponsoring learners.
We need to fix the electricity at the centre, as we had an electrical fire during lock-down and it has caused a bit of havoc in two of our training rooms.
We had a number of break-ins over the past couple of months and need to put up a better fence around the property.
We would like to upgrade our training equipment and technology.
A bakkie would make it so much easier to collect donations we receive all the time, for the skills training initiatives, as well as the local communities we serve.
We have big dreams, and slowly they are coming true. The past four years are proof of that.
AkukhanYa is a Level 2 B-BBEE EME and any assistance we receive are points on the scorecard under area 4 for the supprot organisations. Helping us means helping yourself.