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South African youth must use their talents to do positive things for communitiesThe COVID-19 pandemic put Kwenza Majola’s dreams of developing himself and putting his swimming and lifesaving talents to good use, all while contributing towards the vision and mission of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), on hold, but his enthusiasm for the cause remains.The 28-year-old joined NSRI Station 5 Durban in January this year.He grew up in Richards Bay and now lives in Sydenham, Durban.“Since I am a new member to the station, I’m still learning the ropes.” Majola has completed 15 volunteering hours thus far and is keen to add to this as soon as he is allowed.Although the NSRI has been fully operational during the past COVID-19 lockdown levels and trained volunteers have been on standby and actively engaged in operations, training and coaching for new volunteers has been affected.“Joining the NSRI was very easy, I was Googling about commercial diving when I came across an article on the organisation.” After researching and learning that the NSRI operates in both coastal and inland waters, staffed by volunteers who are on standby day and night throughout the year to ensure water safety is maintained and people in distress are rescued, Majola was eager to become a part of the non-profit organisation.“I love being a volunteer, because everyone in the station shares the same vision and is therefore very helpful with mentoring and giving advice. It’s always fun to be at the station.”NSRI volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and most of them have a love for the ocean. “Although I am a qualified automotive technician by trade, my goal is to become a Commercial Diver and I am currently saving money to complete the course,” Majola said. When he is not volunteering, he enjoys surfing, scuba diving and spearfishing.“I am fortunate to be among the small number of young people in our community who are volunteering to help one other. Young people are the most active and have most energy. I would like to encourage young people to take initiative and use their talents to do something positive for themselves and the community they live in.” June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa to remember the sacrifices of past generations of young people in the attainment of freedom and also to recognise the role of youth in shaping the future of the country. Youth Month 2020 was launched under the theme Youth Power: Growing South Africa together in the Period of COVID-19.The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is the charity organisation that saves lives on South African waters – both coastal and inland. The NSRI works to prevent drowning through rescue operations, education and prevention initiatives. The NSRI is totally reliant on donations and sponsorships in order to do the work of saving lives, changing lives, and creating futures. Visit www.nsri.org.za for more information.The minimum age for joining the National Sea Rescue Institute as a trainee rescuer is 16 years of age. Some NSRI stations offer a junior academy where candidates are able to join in for some of the theory related training from age 12 onwards. On this basis, these candidates are able to become fully fledged rescue crew once they have passed the minimum number of sea hours and practical assessments shortly after turning 16 - due to the benefit of having completed most of the theoretical aspects sooner.Please note, that as with any trainee and any volunteer – training conditions and expectations are appropriately matched to the candidate’s ability, to manage their safety.
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