Sustainable Development from the eyes of a 7th grader

21 May 2020,

COVID 19 has brought our world to a stop economically… never have our lives been more uncertain… yet we continue on. We don’t yet know how, but our world will recover and grow through this.  Our current efforts at REN Hockey focus on our young minds at home in Khayelitsha. Many of the kids cannot access work sent from the school and they cannot go outside. The kids are receiving weekly leadership, academic and fitness exercises through WhatsApp. Last week we sent them a picture of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and asked them to write what they thought these goals mean for South Africa. They were not previously told about these goals. This response, from a grade 7 girl, tells a simple story of our progress so far. It also gives us a snapshot of the awareness and potential of our youth. 

“From (SDG 1) No Poverty to number 17, they all go together” 

-Izipho (grade 7, Khayelitsha township South Africa)

“For me, SDG 1 No Poverty, means that here in South Africa we aim to stay in a country where there is no poverty. No poverty means that our parents will be able to buy food, clothes and other important things. We will not go to bed hungry (SDG 2). We will be able to go to the clinic and hospital without any problems because health (SDG 3) is the first priority. Before 1994 our education (SDG 4) was not equal. Even now we are still struggling, but it is better than before. It does not matter if you are black or white; all of us are equal. SDG 5 Gender equality for me means that all genders are equal and that there is no one who is better than the other.  

SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation is an important aspect in our lives. What can we do without water here in the Western Cape? We were faced with a water problem for 2-3 years but now we are getting better. We can buy electricity (SDG 7) for R10 from Eskom. It is affordable and every month we receive free units of electricity. SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth means that people in South Africa will have nice jobs, earn better salaries and our economy will grow. It means that better companies and businesses will be owned by South Africans. Our industries (SDG 9) will be bigger, and we will build infrastructure that will stay for a long time. 

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities means that people will be able to have things that make them comfortable. People will be responsible for buying the things they need and not anything they want. This is important to make all our lives better. 

Our climate (SDG 13)  keeps changing. Like I said before, we had a problem with water in the Western Cape because we didn’t have rain. Our dams did not have enough water and some of the water was not good. A life without good water is not nice. We were suffering during this time because the farms that produce food were dry because of the bad climate. 

(SDG 16) Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions means that we have police, judges and the court of law. South Africa is democracy and there are rights for everyone. 

For me, I think all of the goals are united. They are the reason why we are here. They are part of the new South Africa that our parents voted for. From goal number 1 to 17, they all go together.

What do these goals mean for you?

Izipho and Carenna

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