Episode 4 : Tammy / Life Skills Coordinator in Port Elizabeth

In the 4th episode of our series “Live from South Africa”, we went to meet Tammy, the new life skills coordinator in Bloemendaal, in periphery of Port Elizabeth. She told us all her happiness and pride of being able to work with the youth of a coloured township, of which she is herself from.

Tammy started her work as a life skills coordinator for the SIYAKHULA! project at Astra Primary School ground in April 2016. She is 22 years old and comes from a coloured community in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth. Having herself benefited from the UTS activities at the Astra Primary School, Tammy was selected to receive a scholarship to study at Pearson High, a reputed Secondary School known for its good quality teaching. Thanks to the support she received in this school, she managed to get through a difficult period of her teenage years and it give her a chance to finish her studies there.

When she learned that UTS was looking for a life skills coordinator, Tammy immediately applied for it. She has the advantage of knowing the programmes and the operation of the organization, but also the community from which the participants to the project in the Astra School come from. She, herself, lived through all of that and is proud of the path travelled. Tammy is truly honoured to be a UTS collaborator. She finds it inspiring to work for an NGO and with a local school, it is a great privilege, in her opinion. She really loves working with children who inspire her every single day.

As she comes from the same community than them, the children from the different life skills groups open up easily to Tammy, especially the girls. A bond of trust quickly establish itself between them and therefore the beneficiaries of the project don’t hesitate to speak about their concerns. Tammy also developed good relations with the parents of the pupils from the SIYAKHULA! project by meeting them regularly. By the way, these parents gave her very encouraging and positive feedbacks on their children’s progress.

She can also see a significant improvement in terms of self-confidence, in the children. Indeed, they have become more and more assured as the activities of the program went on. This is what motivates Tammy the most in her job: being able to see the concrete changes in the children’s lives, giving them a better chance to succeed in life.

At first, Tammy was a bit worried of her adaptation to this new job and her integration in the UTS team. Fortunately, it all went fine: her colleagues warmly welcomed her and supported her well during her first steps in the team. Two months in, she already feels fully part of the team, even though she is conscious that one never stops learning, in the life skils area.


Interwiew by Anne Roulet

Port Elizabeth, August 2016