Phakamani Young Minds Academy (PYMA) provides a safe educational environment for learners of all grades. This does not only include homework supervision, but also tutoring and extra lessons with the ulimate goal of reinforcing the educational work done by teachers in schools.
PYMA was established in 2014 as a non-proft organisation (NPO) and they provide safe learning spaces, extra mural activities and access to post-school opportunities such as employment opportunities and learnerships. The value of tutors should never be underestimated, for teachers are often limited by a curriculum and exam deadlines, whereas tutors can work their magic beyond the traditional school boundaries. Learners who enjoy their school subjects are more likely to succeed, because they begin to engage with the subject content.
PYMA is mostly responsible for their own funding and therefore they need an inspired fundraiser on board, someone who can build relationships in the private sector; relationships that materialise long-term funding partnerships … not weekly golf appointments! A man who clearly understands the challenges of being the helmsman behind the ship’s steering wheel, is Mthandazo Khumalo. He stepped up for this challenge in 2019 when he became part of PYMA’s management team. His passion for youth empowerment and education determined his careerpath more than a decade ago. Mthandazo obtained two MA-degrees and is currently enrolled for a PhD at Unisa – clearly a man who doesn’t fight in the featherweight division… Mthandozo’s involvement with PYMA began as tutor in 2018 after a stint in South Korea. He became their Operations Manager in 2019 and by the winter of 2020 he was the Executive Director.
“The way in which I am involved with PYMA, it did not start with them, I’ve been involved with within the education space since 2011, when I was actually working in Zimbabwe for an organisation that specifically focussed on education and youth development with donors from the US … and later on youth entrepreneurship with the Dutch Embassy,” says Mthandazo. But securing funding in the current economic climate must surely cause you head aches? He thinks it’s not that difficult, ‘… as long as you know where to look for funds, the channels where you must look for funding … since 2020 we worked on growing the funding port, because funders often commit to 5-year projects with NPOs …” Programmes are often stretched across borders, for example, one of their important supporters, Sawabona Africa, have funding programmes with Pyma, Bright Start and Help Lesotho.
Organised fund raising events play an important part in an NPO’s funding strategy and Mthandazo confirms this, “It’s a very good opportunity to get connected with funders, because the first time we attended the CSRNEWSSA event (2019) meetings were fascilitated with Momentum, Investec and IDC who all committed to financial support and help.” Auto & General and Old Mutual are also on the bandwagon.
PYMA’s strategic plan is to reach 1000 young minds within 5 years and simultaneously grow their space in the Early Child Development sector through partnerships. The organisation has been around for some time, but what makes it attractive for investors, now and in the future? Mr. Khumalo knows the answer to that question, “ Firstly, we are a youth led organisation, that makes us unique and people in the private sector like to support a vision that is driven by young people. Secondly, in terms of our work, we are professional and we are compliant – that makes it more attractive for funders. Thirdly, we are already filling a gap in the education space in a passionate way, and lastly, PYMA is a growing organisation.”
PYMA has shown continued growth since 2014 and year after year it could reach out to more beneficiaries: children, youth and post-school learners. Pyma’s impact makes it attractive and the academy has a good track record for almost a decade now!