Jeanne Namanda Wanyama

Position: Young Leader - South Africa

Biography

My name is Jeanne Wanyama I was born on the 4th of April 2005 in Nairobi Kenya, I live with my mother in South Africa Gauteng, and I am a student at Parktown High school for Girls in grade 11. During the four years I’ve been schooling at Parktown High school for Girls I have been able to participate in various after school activities such as Contemporary dance, Marimbas and Soft Ball, but one that has really stuck has been Community Service which I have been part of since grade 8 and fortunate to Vice-Captain in 2020 and Captain in 2021.

Community Service on media like movies for example is often depicted as insubstantial punishment for petty crimes, thus creating a stigma that has influenced many to avoid it. A friend of mine asked why I was punishing myself when I told him that I was involved in the Community Service extramural at school, I explained to him that Community Service allowed me to build a home away from home with like-minded people who have now become family and through those secured relationships we are able to work interconnectivity to make a difference.

One of the biggest projects I’ve been a part of is the Feeding Programme held by St Francis Of Assisi Anglican Church in Parkview, Johannesburg, that has run since May 2019, which started out small where we fed appropriately 40 people on a Saturday and Sunday, then grew to our highest recorded turn out of 306 people, as much of a huge milestone this was, it only highlights the extent of poverty and need, among other things we are continuously facing in South Africa. Alongside the volunteers of the Feeding Programme we were all able to be part of something important, we were given the chance to interact, understand and sympathise with the people we were helping on a personal level, and what I love most about the work I have done is realising and acknowledging the differences and similarities of the people I worked with and the people we helped. I was able to experience different characters and learn that no matter where one is in life we’re all the same. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Community Service school events such as helping out at Christmas Markets, competitions such as the school’s Fun Runs, assisting the school’s Parents Association with their events, assisting with food packaging schemes like the Nelson Mandela 67 minute Rise Against Hunger packaging programmes and making visits to old age homes and orphanages. Community Service is fundamentally about voluntary benevolence, humility, perseverance and understanding, it is both fulfilling and eye-opening where I have found friendships in people and places I never would’ve guessed possible, I have been exposed to so many beautiful experiences and I look forward to an abundance of possibilities to work towards doing more good.

After matric, I plan on going into the medical field to study and become an Orthopaedic surgeon – Orthopaedic surgeons are Medical professionals that diagnose and treat various conditions related to the musculoskeletal system.

After participating in sports like Gymnastics and Netball during my junior phase of school and netball throughout primary school I received my fair share of injuries from a fracture in my ankle, sprained wrists and two broken fingers, I always marvelled at the process of diagnosing correcting, preventing, and treating of skeletal deformities, solely because of my persistent appointments, where I was met with Orthopaedic specialists who were conversant, patient and reassuring that my injures were just minor setbacks that could be overcome. Their confidence and ability to work without failure and remain positive inspired me to challenge myself and strive towards entering a very male-dominated speciality. After a lot of research, my goal is to push myself in ways that will assist in emphasising that I and the many other women that’ll choose to go into the speciality are more than capable of success.

In grade 9 one of the compulsory assignments we are tasked with is a group or individual Expo project for Natural Science where we have to tackle environmental issues. Due to the implemented Lock-down and regulations in 2020, my grade 9 year, the project was made optional. I had already started my planning and was eager to participate in my project regarding ways to effectively clean up oil spills, I decided to continue and finish what I started. After it is marked and received a high score, my research paper became one of the many projects that were sent to the annual prestigious Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair, I was very fortunate to receive a “Highly Commended” certificate at the end of the fair as well as an Academic Enrichment Scroll from the project. I’m excited to get started with this year’s project where I’ve chosen to research and carry out experiments for a BIOMEDICAL AND MEDICAL SCIENCES Expo Project.

I am so excited to be part of the Human Health Education and Research Foundation during the course of 2022 which will hopefully help me further develop my knowledge and skills.