In November 2018, 10 year old Joakim visited VY Commons, a co-working space in Victoria Yards, where journalist Victoria Schneider and social worker Lungile Mfumo were present. Seeing Victoria fixing a bicycle, the boy asked for help with a flat tire. Instead of fixing it, the women taught him how to do it himself. Inside, the boy noticed drawings on the wall. With a local artist, Sifundo Vilakazi, present, he received a spontaneous drawing lesson.
The next day he returned with more friends. As more children joined, Lungile and Victoria recognized the need for something meaningful in the creative environment of Victoria Yards.
Lungile, Victoria, and tenants initiated a pilot program for young people during the Christmas holidays, which was a success. It revealed the necessity of a safe space for young people who would otherwise be excluded from the group targeted by the development Victoria Yards.
Today, Timbuktu in the Valley accommodates around 200 young people daily. It offers workshops on various subjects such as bicycle repair, gardening, art, cooking, swimming and more. Inspired by Timbuktu’s ancient university, the organization exposes children to potential careers and provides skills for a sustainable future.