It takes one person to want to make change.

“Epic Youth Matters has shown me that there is more to life and there is a lot we can do with our communities if we take a stand and become one. I am a domestic worker and have been for a very long time, and I’ve lived in the area I’m in and have always felt like there is not much that can be done with the way we live”

We believe that Princess qualifies as a driver of change based on what she has learned from us through our workshops and through our interactions with her with our food and hygiene distribution. Princess has been on the forefront by trying to help people in her community.

One of the cases that Princess helped with was helping a young women in the settlement who was quite impoverished with her four children and needed a lot of help. One of the nights her brother came to visit her and he became very violent. He had threatened to rape her but luckily she was able to get away and went to Princess who was then able to round up other community leaders, who, instead of ignoring the situation, went to the lady’s house and got the brother out. They also made sure that the brother never came back to the settlement and have been protecting the lady and her family ever since.

Previously members of the community would not get involved in such situations but since Epic Youth Matters has started making them more aware, Princess has tried to get more members of her community involved with helping others in the community. “Having to be a women living in a community where a lot of men still believe that they will not hear from a woman has had its challenges, but understanding that my voice can make a change and that I can help change our community for the best has really helped me a lot”.

Princess is one of the community leaders in the Palmiet community that we have been working in. We have been in contact with her for the distributions we have been doing in that area and she has been helping us reach other people. Princess has now attended two of our workshops and that is where she has learned what we have been doing in communities.

Princess initially was not very open with us being in the community but as time went on she started becoming more involved with us. On one occasion after we had done a distribution Princess sent us a message saying “ Thank you so much, I now know that my job here is not just to live here, greet people, be nice, go to work and come back home. My job here is to help the people so our lives could be better and our lives can change”. Princess no longer thinks like someone who is here just to exist. She thinks with greater purpose and meaning in her life, she believes she is there to make a difference in the lives of people.

Epic Youth Matters has only been able to work in the Palmiet community food and hygiene hampers because of the grant from WVL-SA and through our partnership with Gender Links and funding from Global Affairs Canada. It is due to this fund that we have been able to start a relationship with people like Princess.

Princess has learned to be able to encourage and motivate members of her community so that their lives could be better. She has also been able to motivate them to come to workshops so they could change their environment. The evidence of this has been her attendance at the workshops and the fact that we can rely on her, that we can call her and ask her to do things in the community or spread the word and Princess would get it done. Princess is now more keen and interested in changing people’s lives, she has gathered more people to help and because of this one person and others in the community, more members in the community are willing to establish change in the community.

The challenges that have been faced in this learning journey is that Princess has now been seen as a more forceful individual than previously. That becomes a challenge because people do not always want forceful people in the community. She has had interactions with people that sell drugs in the community and she doesn’t want the selling of drugs to continue to happen. She has contacted us as Epic Youth Matters and we are assisting her in trying to change what is happening in her community, it is just that people that cause trouble in communities are the ones who are a challenge in a community.

Princess’ future plans are getting the area cleaned up, getting the environment changed so that behaviour can change in the community and to teach the young people entrepreneurial skills so that their lives could be different.