Our vision is youth who are empowered to acquire skills that will transform their futures; are enabled to explore new paths for themselves; and have the confidence to follow those paths
Our mission is to develop and present effective and relevant programs that will empower at-risk youth to become responsible and independent citizens with the skills to improve the quality of their lives.
The Bokamoso Life Centre is a community center in Winterveldt, South Africa. As a locally registered Non-Profit Organization (NPO), the Centre provides counseling services, health education, life skills training and support for self-improvement through its various programs, including the Youth Development Program (formerly known as ADP), drama and choral programs, youth mentoring, sports, computer lab, and creative writing. The target population for Bokamoso is at-risk-youth, ages 17 to 25. The Centre uses song, dance, drama, poetry and story-telling as a way to help the youth better understand and overcome the challenges they face and to set career and life goals for their future. Bokamoso is the Tswana word for future.
Winterveldt is a sprawling rural township of approximately 128,000 people within the Metropolitan Municipality of Tshwane. It is located just about 35 miles northwest of Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. As a township, Winterveldt has been plagued with an unemployment rate of 50 percent, crime, abusive relationships, drugs, and overcrowded substandard schools. HIV/AIDS has orphaned a large segment of the community’s youth and closely touches the lives of about 25 percent of Winterveldt’s population. See more on Winterveldt.
Bokamoso has served the community continuously since its founding in 1999 by Stephen and Mary-Ann Carpenter, a doctor and nurse, living and working in the community. They were compelled to address some of the desperate needs of at-risk youth in Winterveldt. They knew there was nowhere for young people to go and few productive ways to spend their time. The Centre was established, creating programs in nutrition, health care, rape crisis and employment. It was initially funded under the Episcopal Diocese of Pretoria’s Tumelong Project.
In March 2008 the church discontinued support of all its activities in Winterveldt, including Bokamoso. Solomon Mahlangu, a former staff member with Tumelong, then registered Bokamoso with the Department of Social Development as an independent NPO. He remained the manager of the Centre until his death in 2014. Currently the Centre is governed by a board of private citizens and operates with a manager, youth development staff and support staff. It has an annual operational budget of approximately Rand 1,180,000 (US$ 81,000) and a scholarship budget of approximately Rand 300,000 (US$ 20,500). The Scholarship Program provides between 30 and 35 post-secondary educational and vocational training scholarships per year to Bokamoso youth.
Since its inception, more than 1,300 youth have graduated from Bokamoso’s Youth Development Program. More than 270 youth have had the opportunity to visit the United States through the Cultural Exchange and Performing Arts Program. Since 2008, more than 400 scholarships have benefited over 235 Winterveldt youth. Bokamoso graduates have obtained employment in nursing, education, social work, banking, skilled trades, youth work, computer technology, business and industry.