Youth programmes make a difference in Western Cape

Young people from Mbekweni and Atlantis in the Western Cape are transforming their lives and those of their peers for the better. More than 100 out-of-school youngsters who have been capacitated to play a significant and active role in the development of their peers have now started implementing youth empowerment programmes in their areas.

World Vision SA has partnered with MOT SA (a partnership between the College of Cape Town and the Haugaland Videregaaende Skole in Norway – MOT means courage in Norwegian) with the aim of strengthening courage among youth to make conscious choices and equip them with lifeskills to become active citizens in their communities. The youngsters were trained as Peer Educators and were given other critical skills they need to help inculcate good values and positive behaviour among their peers.

“Being able to mobilise my peers towards behaviour change is a dream come true for me. Growing up in a neighbourhood such as Mbekweni can be confusing for many young people. In this township it is normal to see youngsters driving beautiful cars as a result of selling drugs – so that alone tells you how much we need this intervention,” said Lukholo Zaki, 18. “With the knowledge and the skills I have acquired, I believe I have what it takes to change Mbekweni for better.”

Mihle Naki, 18, has started implementing of the programme in her area and has already trained close to 100 youth – and through them she hopes to reach 1000 youth by next year. “With the support and mentorship I have received and continue to get from World Vision, I know this vision is possible,” says Mihle. The Youth Representative Committee has identified five youth community programmes through which they will implement their package.

Lessons covered during the trainings include work ethics, communication skills and customer service, to ensure the youth succeed in the workplace and to become active and productive citizens, once employed.