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The Power Of A Teenager’s Pen

An unemployed matriculant’s letter to the editor of the Weekend Argus laid bare the need for Personal Development and gave birth to the Emerging Leaders Institute! 


Instead of wallowing in her sadness, Tanya Van Aswegen, who had been job hunting for two years, penned her frustrations in an open letter. Disturbed by her story, the editor published the contents in his Editors Column. This is an extract of this determined young woman’s letter: 


“I can’t be employed because of my lack of experience. Employers designed questions to make me feel inferior. How am I going to gain experience if no one will give me the chance? Don’t they realise I’m only one in a million? Is there anyone out there willing to help me/us?” Weekend Argus, January 12, 2002, page 4.


Tanya’s desperate cry for help prompted Henry, the Founder of this Institute to do something about their predicament. The more he pondered on her call; the more he realized that she spoke for countless of unemployed youth. There and then, he committed to do something constructive about it. Rather than solving Tanya’s problem, Henry focused on the bigger picture; the masses of unemployed matriculants. 


He discovered that the lack of Personal Development is the primary cause for: Lack of confidence, ineffective communication, poor self-image, inability to set goals, release hidden potential and use the power of choice wisely.


Driven by his discovery and passion for youth empowerment, Henry identified inhibiting factors that negatively impact young people’s growth.


As a result; he authored a six-module course on Personal Development and launched the Emerging Leaders Institute that would function as a platform to deliver quality courses.


Since its inception, the institute has empowered graduates across the spectrum. See ‘Success Stories’ below. 

Driven By Passion To Empower Emerging Leaders

Although Henry graduated from a theological institution, is an ordained Minister and pastored a church for 18 months; he could never fit into the conventional definition and job function as a traditional minister of religion. In fact, his passion as a teenager to focus on youth development prompted his church leaders to offer him a full scholarship! 


During vacations, college students would undertake national trips and would speak and perform at various churches. As a musician and music director of the group, they would nominate Henry to speak at all youth events. His relevant and practical messages would endear him to the hearts of young people. In fact, after each trip, his fan base would increase and would receive more letters than the rest of his class. 



Success Stories

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    1. An attorney completed her articles and enrolled in our class.
    2. Her husband sponsored four of their teens to join their mom.  He felt they needed our training before they journeyed to America as volunteers for a USA Summer Camp! 
    3. A management consultant enrolled; that’s despite his employer’s one million Rand investment for his training in Germany!
    4. When the staff of the Robben Island Museum noticed what had taken place in the Auditorium, they inquired about our activities and enrolled their teenagers to achieve the same benefits!
    5. A second-year, UCT Psychology student, who dropped out and became unemployed; did our course and started his business!
    6. An Afrikaans-speaking, female industrial psychologist, who didn’t regard herself as being ‘over-qualified’, felt the need to complete our weeklong course! 
    7. Housewives who became disillusioned with their everyday situations, enrolled and discovered their purpose in life!
    8. Unemployed matriculants landed jobs after completion. An exclusive car dealer in Sea Point employed one of them!
    9. Sasol, an energy and chemical company, contracted us to do empowerment courses for unemployed youth of their staff in Bethel, Mpumalanga.

Perplexed, the course facilitator asked these housewives and professionals: “Since our content is basic and way below your standards as professionals: Why did you respond to our exclusive adverts and join unemployed matriculants?”


These individuals ascribed their interests to the simplistic yet comprehensive structure of our course. Also, they appreciated our interactive workshops that fostered friendships and reinforced what they discovered.