• 04Feb

    Hiring at Hlom.

    Last week we hired a new assistant for our overworked nutrition and permaculture manager, Nokulunga. His name is Simthembile and seems very nice, if a little shy. Andy and I had a few issues with their hiring process–they did not hire the best candidate, but instead chose the poorest. I can understand their sympathy, but it may not have been the best choice for the organization. But, so far Simthembile seems like a nice guy and eager to learn (though, if he’s so poor, how does he have a sweet mp3 player?)

    Next we hired a youth coordinator. There were only two applicants: former SPW youth, who have spent the past year learning to be peer educators in rural communities. We ended up hiring the young man, Siyabonga, and today was his first day. So far, I think he’s off to a really good start. He seems really interested in involving youth groups, making kids aware of all their options, etc.

    One of the biggest problems we’ve encountered is that kids don’t have a clue what they want to be or do. Most kids that are in grade 11, 12, or have finished matric, tell us they want to be an accountant, police, social worker, or nurse. Those are without a doubt the most parroted job ideas. Here’s the catch: most of the kids who want to be accountants have failed maths, or gotten really bad grades. Here’s another catch: they want to be a policeman, but they need a driving license to apply for the training, and nobody can afford to take driving lessons.

    Part of Siyabonga’s job as our new youth coordinator is to help the youth become aware of all their options. Everyone wants to go to university, but if their grades are very low, it is unlikely that they’ll get bursaries or financial support. There are many local technical colleges and business schools that ASAP and Hlom. can support, and we are trying to get the matrics interested in some of the career paths offered at those schools (FET, CIDA etc). So, fingers crossed. Siyabonga seems full of ideas so far, and we’re really excited to see what he comes up with.

    Finally, we are trying to hire a part time social worker to do Child Assessments and follow ups. On a daily basis there are vulnerable youth and orphans brought to the attention of Hlomelikusasa. It is a delicate job, and we need someone with training and experience who can ask difficult personal questions to the children to find out their level of vulnerability and how Hlom. can help.

    This week alone we have had several cases come in. Yesterday, a 16 year old girl came in (one of the kids from our Xmas trip to Port St. Johns). She was crying, and it turned out that her grandmother/caretaker wants to pull her out of school and marry her off to some stranger. This poor girl looked so scared. She came to Hlomelikusasa for help, because social development was too busy and could not do anything for her. There was another girl, also 17, who’s mother recently died and does not know her father. She wants to go to school but cannot afford her uniform or school fees and supplies. She has a 1 year old baby, and is staying with a family friend temporarily.

    We are in the midst of school registration process, and finding children on a daily basis who are not going to school because they can’t afford a new uniform. The principals won’t let them attend if they are not in proper attire. Boniswa found a child this morning who is starving, and begging for food outside the school before class.

    We’re having a hard time filling the Child Assessment position. Ideally, we would like to hire a retired social worker with lots of experience and nothing else to do but that’s not looking too promising. So far we’ve had the flyer up for a week and have had a few inexperienced teenagers come in, and one girls who is actually in her final year of social work training at Walter Sisulu University. She’s our best bet so far, but I hope we at least get a few more decent applicants!!!

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4 Responses to “Hiring at Hlom.”

  1. molly Says:

    alex, its been so long!
    im glad youre doing well, and having an educational time in africa
    how sad that there are so many people still struggling

  2. Marte Says:

    Molo Alex:)
    Unjani? I love reading your blog, it takes me right back to my time in Mt.Frere! It breaks my heart reading about those children, but keep up your good work!
    Wish you all the best! And send my love to all the people in Mt.Frere:)
    sharp sisi

  3. Chrissy Tosti Says:

    Hiya Alex,
    I don’t totally understand the origin of Hlomelikusasa (and how it is funded) and how this connects with the group that you came with (the “African Solutions for Africa…”). Do they fund the Hlomelikusasa? Do you work for both groups now, or are they the same?
    Love, Chrissy

  4. CountryGirlCityLife Says:

    It seems really tough to find the right applicants from such small pools. I am glad you are both still hard at work, enjoying yourselves and changing the world.