Growing up was never easy. Seeing people doing different things from you was difficult. You always had to change your attitude and behaviour. I remember feeling comfortable when I was alone. I enjoyed loneliness but I had to change that.

The Siyaphila group gave me a chance to be with people – smiling and sharing laughter every day of my life. I even started to work as a team, hand in hand with other people.

I was in Grade 11 the first time I joined Siyaphila. I was shy – a quiet person who enjoyed her own company. After the first month I was still like that, but the month after that I saw the need for people in my life. I felt love and joy and happiness.

The Siyaphila group made a difference in my life because each and every Saturday I woke up knowing I was going to a place that made a difference. We worked hand in hand sharing the same feeling of happiness and touching each other’s hearts with different stories. We helped people to fulfil their dreams in class by holding a book and pen or a calculator in Maths. That helped me overcome my fear. Carrying a school bag and walking miles was nothing to me but a feeling of love.

To see people who made it in life motivating others was the greatest thing. Going to the youth Siyaphila camp was another thing that made me realise I was not alone but with people who share what I love and think. When we were asked to share ideas it was one of my dreams.

Gogo and our elder brothers and sisters will guide us in what we do. We would enjoy ourselves and laugh and cry because of what we were sharing. We also grew from each other’s stories and challenges that we face on a daily basis.

I was lucky and blessed. Being open about your things is a relief. The funny part is that I am one of the changes which made a difference to other people’s lives. It isn’t always easy to change from who you are. But being me with a sense of humour I found my true roots, because I found my real self.