We are privileged  that so many of our graduates are still in in contact with the ECHO family, giving back via their own skill sets and financially. They have created their own sponsor-a-student fund where they choose a student whom they will pay for and mentor.


Touching lives and investing in others
Speaker: Lauren Jansen

LAURENGood afternoon ladies, I am Lauren Jansen and I am a proud ECHO graduate. This afternoon, I would like to share how ECHO has touched my life and enabled me to live my dream.
Living my dream…
I am a school social worker at Metro Central Education Department and at 23, I am living my dream! School social work is a specialised field of social work. We do not do statutory work, but co-ordinate those services when child abuse has been disclosed at school. I work in Heideveld, Manenberg, Hanover Park and some Athlone schools. I am responsible for 6 high schools, 27 primary schools and 1 special school. When receiving cases of abuse, the co-ordination of those services entails networking with resources within the community.
Prevention work, in other words people empowerment forms a large part of my work. This is where my passion lies. I empower educators on the Abuse No More Protocol Document as well as barriers to learning such as domestic violence. So far this year, I have trained 16 schools in the Abuse No More Protocol Document. I empower parents with support sessions regarding parent involvement, setting boundaries and the importance of supervision over their children. I empower learners by making them aware of their rights.
As a working person, I’ve realised the importance of LOVING what you do. I go to work every day, excited because I am living my dream.

How did I get here?
Getting here was no walk in the park. ECHO invested in me, providing me with tools along the way in order for me to live my dream. I have highlighted 8 prominent points in my journey:
1.    Me
2.    Comfort zone
3.    Self-doubt to Self-belief
4.    Networking
5.    Juggling responsibilities
6.    Follower to a Leader
7.    Workplace preparation
8.    Giving back


1.    Firstly, I looked at myself. I will always remember in the beginning of my time with ECHO, my Life Coach and I discussed career opportunities. When looking at what I wanted to do, we looked at a theory by Jim Collins from his book Good to great. I looked at what I am good at which is working with people. I looked at what I love doing, which is empowering people. I then looked at what I can make money doing which lead me to a school social worker.

2.    This image depicts exactly what it is to get out of your comfort zone. Its where the magic happens. ECHO encourages us to get out of our comfort zones. This week, I got out of my comfort zone. During high school, I always wanted to volunteer to take the First Aid course, but I was too scared and unsure of myself. At work, they requested First Aid volunteers. I am standing infront of you, officially a First Aider.


3.    I went from self-doubt to self- belief. Before my time with ECHO, I never wanted to stand out from a crowd or voice my opinion. ECHO has made me realise that I can stand out of a crowd, I have an opinion and my opinion matters.


4.    Networking is important in my job. I will always remember the “after work cocktails” networking exercise which we had during one of our workshops. I realised then that networking is a skill. I am now confident when I need to network because I have had a practise round.


5.    ECHO has taught me the value of planning. We all have many responsibilities, but “fail to plan and plan to fail”.

6.    Before ECHO, I never dreamed about being in any leadership position. However because ECHO chose to invest me, during my time at university, I was a Mentor and thereafter a member of the House Committee of my residence.

7.    WOW, the big wide world of work. Did I have a limited view of the world of work when I was a student? Yes, as a student you think you know what it is to work…You only find out what it REALLY is to be in the world of work when you are there. Thanks to ECHO, I am confident in the workplace. Age plays a major role but because I have had the ECHO experience, I’m one step ahead, having had my practise session during one of my ECHO workshops.

8.     Giving back is a vital part of living my dream. ECHO empowered me with tools for success. I now have the power to empower others. ECHO has provided me with the opportunity to empower current students with workshops on topics such as time management and conflict management.

Finally, I would like to thank ECHO for investing in me and enabling me to live my dream!


TRACY-LEEMy name is Tracy-Lee Arendse. I graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2013 with a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and Community Counselling. I am currently completing my internship at 2 Military Hospital but will soon be moving on to my community service year in 2015.

I joined the Echo family in 2007 when I was just 17 years old, when they help fund a trip to the United States of America to attend a Global Youth Leaders Conference in California. On my return I was offered the opportunity to be a student in Echo’s tertiary development program. I feel passionately about the Echo program because I share in their value of helping people enhance their lives. I have always dreamt of becoming someone who helped people think about, understand and change their thoughts, behaviours and emotions in a meaningful way. I wanted to do more than just help people; I wanted to find ways to help people to help themselves.

Throughout my journey with Echo I have been truly inspired by my fellow students, the workshop facilitators and general Echo management team. The program as well as sense of belonging to the Echo family has added great meaning and intention to my life. With the guidance and experience of the Echo program I have proudly developed into a strong, confident, well-equipped young professional.

Echo continues to emphasise the importance of ploughing back into our communities. My experience with Echo has inspired me to help pay it forward by contributing to the Echo Graduate Fund. I believe in the potential of others, just like Echo was able to see the potential in me.


Thank you Echo, for your support, care and investment in my life. God bless.

jucaI’m currently working for the City of Cape Town, Revenue Management, and Electricity Department Head Office.
My actual designation is in the investigation area, I’ve moved around a bit within the department to gain experience.
My office is based in Bellville/ Tygervalley, Bloemhof Centre.

Best Regards,
Mr. Malusi Juca


Akhona Dafeti

Akhona Dafeti

My name is Akhona Dafeti . I am a BCom (economics) graduate majored in Economics and statistics.

I am currently working for Eskom SOC as Graduate in job training in Group Customer Services. I am currently a Project coordinator/Project Leader for a Meter Dial Project for the Western Cape and the North Cape, one of the major projects in the department. The phase 1 of the project is 70% compete and so far my team and I have managed to establish about R 2.6 million to be recouped through this project.

My career started as a planner’s assistance in retail at Woolworths and Cape Union Mart Head offices to my current job at Eskom. ECHO has added much value in my life. The debate sessions held with Mr Dick on Saturdays developed my confidence which enabled me to feel free to raise my opinion during our quarterly strategic meetings and team sessions as an Assistant planner.

The presentation skills I acquired from the workshops have also empowered me to address my team and project stakeholders with confidence during our monthly feedback session. My manager has also given me an extra responsibility to compile and present the department (Revenue Measurements) performance feedback for Northern Cape and Western Cape Operating Units during the department monthly meeting.

Family wise, I was married in December 2013. My wife is looking forward to grow our small family.


Rodney Belchem

Rodney Belchem

Rodney Belchem

Echo student: 2011

Post graduate involvement: 2012 – current

In 2011 while involved with the student program, I started a 6 month internship at PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers). Thereafter I was employed as an Internal Auditor within the Public Sector division. I have been exposed to a great deal of risk management, controls and compliance, financial systems and controls and business improvement engagements. Our biggest clients which I have been involved with include the Department of Defence, Department of Correctional Services, UNICEF, NSFAS and Iliad Africa Ltd. I am also a passionate rugby player. While still running out on the field, I am also on the Exco at the club, as Club Treasurer.

I have always felt part of the ECHO family. Firstly ECHO contributed towards by education in a financial capacity, allowing me to complete my final year at CPUT while studying Internal Auditing. The life skills and workplace workshops have prepared me for the “world after studying”.

Being employed in the corporate world, the workshops now come into play on a daily basis when interacting with colleagues and especially with clients. ECHO has also inspired a passion to work with youngsters, and take on a “giving” approach in life.


Tankiso Awu

Tankiso Awu

Hi everyone I am Tankiso Awu working at Boldgreen as a Manager. I am a graduate student of ECHO in Landscaping & Design.

ECHO supported me through my journey financially and equipped me with skills for the working environment through their workshops and other activities. I am now doing my BA in Environmental Science.

Thank you Echo for the support, I really appreciate what you did for me keep up with the good work! Thank you!


Dorian Joseph

Dorian Joseph

It is the year 2014 and I cannot believe how time has just flown by. Exactly 5 years ago I joined the Echo family. Echo encouraged me to engage more and expand the world I live in, by exposing me to various unknown facets of life. The support and soft skills training from Echo pulled me through my final year as a BComm student and encouraged me to do a Diploma in Teaching.

I kicked off my career as a teacher in Delft, a tough but very rewarding experience indeed. There I witnessed how the youth of today have a lack of role models and how a lack of management can affect the morale of the entire school. The gangsterism in the school exceeded my mind and made me avery negative person. Despite the fact that I loved teaching and touching the lives of children, I knew I had to get out of the school. After two years as a teacher, I left the education system for the corporate world. Currently I am a Store Planner at Ackermans Head Office and loving every minute of it. Ackermans gave me the opportunity to further my studies and I am currently enrolled for Honours at the University. The culture and values of the company is more conducive to my mental well-being. I applaud teachers that have the perseverance to teach the youth in our under privileged areas. They are the children that need the most love and support, for it is absent in so many homes.

Nevertheless, whilst I started my career, I also met the love of my life, Ernesto. In February of 2014 I got married and we bought a lovely townhouse together. I embarked on a new journey of being a wife and a “household manager”. I am enjoying every moment of it and cannot wait to complete my studies and start expanding our family.

Have a blessed day!

JAMYMy name is Jamy Felton.  I graduated with my BA International Studies in 2009 and BAHons Politics in 2010 from the University of Stellenbosch. I am currently busy with my MA Politics at the University of Cape Town.

I am currently employed as a Data Quality Officer for Afrobarometer, an independent, non-partisan research project that measures the social, political and economic atmosphere in Africa through national public attitude surveys. I previously served as an intern and consultant to the Institute of Security Studies on their Conflict of Interests project, as well as a research assistant on the Cape Area Survey project entitled “Changing Political Culture through Education: Democratic citizenship and the School Curriculum in Post-Apartheid South Africa”.


My journey with Echo began in 2005/2006 when they supported me financially in order that I may attend the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C/New York. Thereafter, I joined Echo’s tertiary development programme. Over the years, Echo has taught me to become a better version of myself- which ultimately resulted in me developing from a quiet, reserved person to an outspoken, critical human being.


I can now openly proclaim that I am a human rights-lover, advocate for positive societal change, curly-haired, crazy person who believes that every person should be able to be, and inspire, themselves.


*Be the change you wish to see in the world*


Nathan Theron

Nathan Theron

Nathan Theron BSc (Hons) Property Studies 2014

I am a postgrad student at the University of Cape Town currently doing my Honours Degree in Property Studies. Our thesis topic is exploring the impact that Green Building Features & Initiatives (GBFIs) have on the mind-set of commercial building occupants.

Furthermore, my field of study concentrates on the financial feasibility behind property developments, property valuation, appraisals & property law.

Something that is close to my heart in my field of study is the research into housing policy in South Africa. I would love to be in that position to be part of a consultancy team with regards to working with government in better refining the delivery and maintenance programmes of these state-assisted dwellings. It is common to assume that South Africa and the poverty challenges are unique to the country, given the history of the segregation and apartheid, but one must realise that poverty and slums is a worldwide problem, and as a nation, there is a lot that can be learned from studying the evolution of international housing policies and delivery systems. In so doing, people will begin to see heightened effects of change in the country.

I am also currently in my 3rd year of being a part of the Echo Programme. I have attended many value workshops over time with the Echo team. As a student I can testify to the fact that a lot of the skills I have learnt through attending these workshops have really benefitted me and helped to grow areas in my life which varsity lectures (in a sense) fail to achieve.

Mentioning just a few workshops that have had great impact in my life, I can say that the Interview Skills and CV Workshop really helped to boost my confidence in selling myself when I walk into an interview. Professionalism, positive attitude and confidence are key characteristics which I have been able to take away from that workshop. Furthermore, I think that the workshops which were financially-based were also of extreme importance because one can never have too much advice when it comes to working with one’s own money. I really appreciate the fact that we are given the opportunity to actually be in a room with professionals from the financial industry and engage with these people, who really have a lot of knowledge about making money work for you.

Not only has Echo help me with life development workshops, the Echo team of Sponsors have really made such a valuable contribution to me completing my studies. What is really significant is that these sponsors don’t just help with the financial cost of University, but they actually contribute to these life development workshops which really shape the way in which we conduct ourselves in industry. It has been a real blessing to be a part of this programme.


Robin Julies

Robin Julies

I completed my Psych honours degree in 2013 which included a practical component of 720 hours.

After was contracted by Tsiba Education to facilitate skills training workshop in various areas within the Western Cape. It was a rich and diverse experience and would love the opportunity to engage with people on such a level again.

I am also still very involved with ECHO, as a mentor and assisting in social media processes.

I am currently employed at UCT in my capacity as a junior researcher.

Counselling is of course my primary passion and as I am awaiting registration I remain in touch with that aspect of my life by means of volunteering once a week at Ukukhanya in Somerset West, where I have the supervision to be able to practice ethically.

I have discovered along the way that I am able to express my skills and passion in various ways and looking forward to great things to come.