What the HSF has done for me by Lerato

My name is Lerato, born and raised in Katlehong. I am 18 years old and currently doing Matric. I am being raised by a single parent.

I found out about the Helen Suzman Foundation Youth Leadership Project from my Life Orientation teacher last year. I was chosen to be one of the mentees in the program. Before this I did not think it would be possible for me to get a mentor, especially in high school, but the Foundation gave me the opportunity to have one.


This has changed my life academically and it has changed the way I see myself and my future. Even though I was already doing well academically, I really did not think that I would go very far in life, but being selected to join this program has made me feel important and that I can and will be able to achieve more.


 Meeting the mentors and being part of the workshops has let me interact with different teenagers from other areas and schools and we had conversations about the things that we discover and the things that we want to achieve. I learnt a lot from the previous workshops, I learnt about arguments and to always be humble and to never forget where I come from – these words were said by Mr Hugh Masekela who I had the honour of meeting because of this Foundation.


Having a mentor has helped me improve my self esteem and to improve academically.  I receive motivation and more light on life at university. Before joining the program I did not have much information on career choices, but having a mentor has really helped me discover the things that I am interested in and the studies that I can pursue at a higher education level. This also gave me an idea of what the outside world is like and the challenges that I might face after high school, the universities that I might consider studying in and how I can get funding because I do not have any money saved up for university.


I now know that even though my background is not good I can work towards building a better life for myself. There are resources in this country and this Foundation is one of the resources that I can use as a young leader. It gives me hope.


Being part of the Youth Leadership Project has made me realise that I have a purpose and I am motivated and truly inspired.


I am now more focused and dedicated to my studies. I help my peers with different subjects that they don’t understand because I was also helped by this Foundation so this is like a full chain of being helped and helping others. I share the knowledge that I gain during my mentoring sessions and workshops with my peers. I am more confident and I can set goals and achieve them.


I would really like to thank the Helen Suzman Foundation and the Youth Leadership Project for giving me the opportunity to have a mentor and to be a part of their workshops, for bringing change in my life and for all the motivation and inspiration.

Project Overview

Many young South Africans have the talents and drive required to succeed, but do not because of a lack of self-confidence. We suspect this to be a problem which occurs, particularly, along class lines – middle class children are brought up to believe the world is theirs for the taking, putting them at a psychological advantage in the workplace. This plays out in many spheres, from interviews for scholarships and jobs to wage negotiations.

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Pilot Programme

The pilot ran its course in 2012.

Due funding constraints we were unable to continue running this programme. We will continue running this programme if and when funding becomes available.

How can i get involed?

The project is not currently running. We will keep our website updated if anything changes.

Young Leader

A testimonial from one of our young leaders.

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