Marvin Ngcongo is a mentor with the power to make a difference in his community.

Five years ago he started Make It Positive, a community-based leadership programme that aims to encourage leadership in disempowered youth. How? By facilitating workshops for groups in grades eight to 10 on themes such as self-image and choices, among others.

In the second year of the programme, a group’s members have to apply the skills they learned by mentoring the group that comes after them. “We have had 320 kids go through the programme and our participants have reported higher school attendance and class engagement,” says Ngcongo.

As a commerce student at Stellenbosch University, he was the chairperson of the United Nations Association of South Africa (UNASA), leading a team of six committee members, six project managers and a volunteer base of 500 students overseeing nine community projects.

He was invited to be part of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre Fellowship, along with a select group of leaders from around the country. Always looking out for opportunities to travel and learn from like-minded individuals, he recently took part in the Hebrew University’s 10-week Transdisciplinary Innovation programme and represented Stellenbosch at the Global Engagement Summit for young leaders in Chicago.

Find Ngcongo on Twitter: @Marvin_Ngcongo