In October 1995 in Westbury, a group of young people came together to initiate innovative approaches to complex problems facing their community and, in doing so, to make a difference in the lives of their friends, families, neighbours and community members. This was achieved through outreach to schools (including placing members of the community in primary and high schools in response to the school crisis) and running a range of after-school activities.
In 1996, Conquest For Life moved into their local offices in Newclare. Community links were strengthened and validated by a community survey in April 1997. The survey secured grassroots participation in identifying problems, decision-making and project design. The results of the survey illustrated that Conquest For Life had gained the respect and encouragement of the community, which provided the impetus to roll out activities such as youth at risk camps, youth enrichment work and facilitating peace processes.
During 1998 Conquest For Life moved to new larger premises in Price Street, Newclare and since then, has been able to develop a computer-training centre, victim offender conferencing and counselling work. In 1999 an independent evaluation was conducted on the impact of the In and Out Youth Development Project - Youth At Risk to see the impact of the project. During the evaluation it was clear to that the YAR Project is having a profound impact on the young people at risk. In 2000 ‘Dreamlands’ in De-Deur-Vereeniging was bought. This farm has being developed as a residential centre. In addition, McKinsey International produced a feasibility study on the replication of the Conquest For Life model of working with youth at risk. In 2001 Conquest For Life signed an offer to purchase its current Head Office building. The organisation further expanded its work to the San People in Platfontein, Northern Cape. Positive relations were forged with the youth. An office is currently managed by the youth from that community.
During 2002 Conquest For Life opened an office in Ennerdale and runs four projects in that area. The same year CFL formed a partnership with the Johannesburg City Council Region 11 and acquires bigger premises in Ennerdale. Plans for the Soweto office was already on the way since 2002 but in 2003 Conquest For Life opened its offices at the Bridgement Center in Zola. From the centre CFL ran three projects. During the same year CFL have also applied with SARS for approval in terms of section 10 and 18A. In the same year Conquest For Life paid of it’s Head Office and bought a house in Creswill Park, Roodepoort to accommodate it’s ever growing International Volunteers.
During 2004, CFL moved to a bigger space in Meadowlands, Soweto. Plans are also under way to open another office in Soweto. Late the same year we opened another office in Orange Farm and there are only four projects that are being run in Orange Farm. Conquest For Life is also in the process of looking at the East Rand and we in the process of developing a plan for 2010. During Human Rights month, CFL launched its Reathusana Child Youth Justice Project where we work with over 1500 young people in Prison. In the same year CFL received approval from SARS as a public Benefits Organisation and it has Section 18A status. Conquest For Life started the proceedings to transfer the Head Office onto its name.
In 2005 Conquest For Life increased the number of schools, children, youth, parents and programs. The organisation also signed an offer to a camping site in Magaliesburg. Conquest For Life work with over 40 000 children and youth per month. During the same year, Conquest For Life purchased a house in Ennerdale to run its operation from there. The organisation has experienced many problems with the local politicians and council officials and at times they have made the environment not conducive for development.
In early 2006, Conquest For Life moved into the house in Ennerdale, Ext 9 and runs all projects from the house. After moving into the Ennerdale property, the organisation than evaluated it’s strategies and decided to do the same in all the other areas of operation. Having their property will allow the organisation to focus on its identity, branding and work on its long term strategy – “Conquest For Life must be a household name throughout South Africa.” The same year, the organisation rented a house in Orange Farm and signed an offer to purchase a property in Soweto. During the year, Conquest For Life explored the idea of opening an operation in the UK and in the USA.
The Organisation also won an award from the Gordon Institute of Business Science – University of Pretoria for Social Entrepreneur on the Brink. The organisation was also featured in various news paper articles including three books – “ Charting progress, mapping the future- Ann Skelton and Mike Batley”, “Kaelo stories of hope 2006” and “From Diamonds to Dust – Stories of Social Entrepreneurship” by the Gordon Institute Of Social Business Science – Colloquium for social Entrepreneurs.
In 2007, we moved into a house in Soweto and use it as an office. We are running almost all the projects in Meadowlands Zone 9, Soweto. The office is allowing us to create our own identity and brand. Later the same year we acquire another house in Reiger Park on the East Rand and we are only running two projects in the area with the idea of another two soon. Glen Steyn and Conquest For Life have also featured in two programs on television this year – The Learning Channel and Its my Life on SABC 1. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship have selected Glen Steyn as one of ten semi-finalists for the Social Entrepreneur Award 2007 in South Africa. Through the award, The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Ernst & Young seek to recognize and encourage the spirit of social entrepreneurship. We believe that your work, in positively impacting social change processes, transforming the lives of many people and creating substantial social value, is truly inspirational. On the 20th of June 2007, Kaelo shoot a DVD on Conquest For Life and it was screened on SABC 1.
In 2008, plans were put in place to build a plan for Conquest For Life to become less and less dependent on outside funding. During the same year Conquest For Life became a semi finalist of the Mail and Guardian Newspaper – Investing in the future awards. The recession had a major impact on every one and Conquest For Life survived the storm.
In 2009 with the recession hitting South Africa. Conquest For Life embarked on a mission to move to a bigger premises. The organisation signed an offer to purchase a property from the Anglican Church in the area with the idea of implementing a Social Enterprise and to create a vehicle for the organisation to become self-reliant. Due to the economic climate and scarcity of funds, due organisation decided to put 3 properties on the market to finance the deal. The banks did not approve a loan for Conquest For Life but the fight goes on.
In 2010, the FIFA World Cup fever hits South Africa, with no exception to CFL. The organisation partnered with the Embassy of Brasil in Pretoria, Sophiatown Soccer Academy, Ole Brasil and many local NGO’s and NPO’s in hosting a small version of the world cup – “My Soccer Festival” During the same year CFL approached GIZ/YDF for funding the Football for Empowerment Project. During 2010, the CEO made contact with a community in the Free State, Mautse and Rosendal and began negotiations to start a work in the area.
In 2011, the organisation has implemented the Football for empowerment projects in various communities. Conquest For Life partnered with various local organisations and in talk of opening up a branch in the inner city of Johannesburg.
In 2012, the organization developed relationships with the communities of Mautse and Rosendal in the Free State. They have identified three Youth Workers in the community that would be trained as Auxiliary Social Workers that will work with Young people at Risk.
In 2013 the organisation embarked on a strategic process. Board members, staff and partners of Conquest For Life is looked at the organisations, objectives and started a consultative process with a review in mind. In August that process was continued where a group of Students from UNICEF and Wits Mental Health assisted Conquest For Life with one of the key strategic points. , Conquest for Life (CFL) was identified as an organisation that could partner with UNICEF and potentially benefit from C4D strategies. Nine course participants were given the opportunity to develop a communication strategy for CFL as part of their participation in the course. The Social Ecological Model (SEM) informed the team’s overall assessment. This framework considers the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. It assisted the team in analysing risk and protective factors (across all levels of the community) to children living in com-munities that CFL serves. ( a full report is available upon request) After many years of struggling to register Conquest For Life as a trade mark in the USA, we were able to succeed. Conquest For Life and its logo is now a registered trademark and belongs to us
In 2014 Conquest For Life continued with its strategic processes and made their plans more concrete and concise. The organisation proceeded with in securing a permanent office space in Orange Farm and signed an offer to purchase. We are currently in the process raising funds to pay off the property. The organisation succeeded in accrediting their Diversion, Victim Offender and S.H.E. projects.
In 2015, Conquest For Life is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. There are a number of festivities planned throughout the year. During the course of this year, an independent group of people will assess and evaluate the achieves and successes of the organisation. The process to professionalise the organisation and its activities will continue as per our strategic objectives
Currently the organisation is perusing plans to sustain itself in the current financial turmoil in the country that is threatening the existence of many good organisations.