What Is The Outreach Foundation?
The Outreach Foundation offers a number of programmes to the people living in central Johannesburg. Through their offering of counselling and various art enrichment programs, they work to provide skills development and increase employability for those in their community. They aim to help create stable families, a safer neighbourhood for all living in it and to further develop self-worth in individuals as well as to help provide them with more opportunities to achieve what they want in life.
To learn more about what the Outreach Foundation is and how you can get involved, click below.
Shi Hoko And Outreach
Two years ago, Shi Hoko Sensei, Wendy Vermeulen was invited to introduce kendo at the Hillbrow Outreach Center. This new, never before seen martial art flooded the dojo with curious students and soon after, a strong core group was established from those who eagerly wanted to welcome kendo into their everyday lives. Spreading kendo into the underprivileged areas wasn’t easy and the plans needed to be reworked often. Eventually Wendy came to the realisation that the best strategy would be to nurture and cultivate one member of the community to such a level that they could teach kendo themselves within their community.
From the students, one of them really stood out with his strong dedication and enthusiasm for training. Using her personal funds, Wendy began to transport him to Boskruin where he could train with the other members of the dojo and further develop his kendo career. At his first tournament, he proved his enthusiasm as he powered through the competition and claimed a medal. He stood out to the kendo community and has gone on to prove a massive inspiration to the rest of the community to always push themselves further.
As of the beginning of 2020, he was ready to start training students on his own and, with the help of Wendy in overseeing his teaching and regulating his classes, he has begun to teach his own class at the Hillbrow Outreach Center. To say that this is merely exciting is an understatement. Empowering people with new skills that they in turn can pass on to others in their community and help them become self-sufficient is a responsibility that all of Shi Hoko believes in and we are so excited that we can now begin to branch out and work to achieving this.
But who is this mystery student? His name is Kadima Kazadi, known to those around him as Mike. Below are his thoughts on his kendo journey.
Ever since my childhood, there have been skills in me that I couldn’t comprehend. Skills that I was ignorant of. As a child, I was always interested in playing with sticks or branches of a tree. I would demonstrate what I saw on TV as if in an imaginary fight. I had this deep desire to know what I really want.
Unimaginably, here comes kendo. I got introduced to kendo in Hillbrow by my judo sensei. I was so interested that I was pushed by my inner desire to join kendo. I got into Shi Hoko Kendo Dojo where Wendy sensei, Grant sensei and the whole team helped me understand the etiquette and concepts of kendo. Above all, they helped me understand kendo as a whole.
At first, the concepts of kendo were not clear to me. As I endured through training though, I discovered a lot of things about kendo. Kendo does not only teach one the techniques. It teaches one of discipline, heroic courage, compassion, respect, honesty and sincerity, duty, loyalty, honour and integrity. Kendo has played a huge role in my personal life. It has boosted my courage and spirit.
My kendo journey has been thoughtful. As an intermediate, currently ranked 3rd kyu, I am confident and backed up by my inner spirit to continue on the kendo journey. My goal is to achieve the highest kendo ranking. Not only this, but also to discover the influence (or role) of kendo on my personal life.
I want to promote kendo in Hillbrow. I want others to realise that there is more to kendo. I want them to see the opportunities and benefits that kendo brings to them. Although I don’t know everything about kendo – this does not create an obstacle in my kendo path. All I know is my inner desire will me through the kendo journey and I will be able to share everything I learned in kendo with others.
Mike is currently teaching kendo at the Hillbrow Outreach Center on Thursdays at 03:30 PM.