Meet the Youth

Get to know the Stepping Stones participants! 100 youth (ages 12-18+ of whom 53% are girls and 47% boys) are currently enrolled in the program. They come from diverse backgrounds, and have a wide range of interests. Stepping Stones International encourages our youth to explore their interests to discover their own potential. Upon enrollment, participants are asked to reflect on what they would like to be when they grow up. We then paint their feet, and ask them to make a footprint on our “Footprints to the Future” banner.

New SSI participants paint their future on our "Footprints to the Future" banner

Some of our participants aspire to be lawyers, doctors, pilots, farmers, police, nurses – even the President one day! At Stepping Stones, we give the youth the opportunity to achieve these goals, while recognizing the life of an adolescent can be rife with challenges. We also provide them with the essential skills to cope with whatever life deals them.

One of Stepping Stones International’s earliest participants, Thato Boikanyo, has come a long way from the early days of being too shy to say his name in front of the group of six participants, who studied in a single classroom after school. Back then Thato wanted to be a police officer, and today he is one step closer to achieving that goal!

Please enjoy reading Thato’s personal essay below, to find out what he is doing today.

Hello Friend. My Name is Thato Boikanyo, and I am 20 years old. I joined the Stepping Stones International program as one of its first participants in 2006, the year the program started.

At that time, I was doing Form Two. I finished Form Five (high school) in 2009, however I did not manage to pass my exams. In 2010, I joined Stepping Stones’ Mentorship Program. This program gave me the opportunity to develop leadership skills, and become a positive role model for other younger Stepping Stones participants. After completing the one-year mentorship program, SSI offered me my first employment opportunity as a Program Assistant. I now work on Peer Education and Living Life Skills programming.