Initiative to light up lives in Khayelitsha

The Uyesu Unathi Life Skill building was officially opened on Friday June 3. Councillor Anda Tsondo cuts the ribbon.

Hundreds of unemployed Khayelitsha residents are set to benefit from the multi-million rand Uyesu Unathi life skills building, which was officially opened on Friday June 3.

The project, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, promises to provide the marginalised members of society with life-changing opportunities.

The project was an initiative by the late Laura Haas, the founder of NGO Uyesu Unathi.

Project manager Sipho Xazana said the building would ensure equal access to developmental opportunities.

Some of the programmes already offered by the NGO include sewing and cooking and they now want people to come with ideas of what else the new space can be used for to help the community.

He appealed to Khayelitsha residents to use the building to their advantage.“We are here to be the light for people of Khayelitsha. Here is a building that has different rooms to be used by all.

“This will provide the economic basis for human development through programmes run here. We want to service and help them,” he said. He added that the building would go a long way in developing youth, particularly Grade 12 pupils.

The facility would provide a comfortable environment for pupils with no proper studying facilities and sleeping rooms for them.

“The intention is to expose not only unemployed people, but our children to quality education. We have rooms with beds already. We want them to spend their nights here.

“We also want the community to come and speak to us about some of our programmes. Community members should come talk to us, share ideas about the place. But with Grade 12s, we will have to work with schools and their principals,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, councillor Anda Tsondo lauded the work carried out by Uyesu Unathi.

“I am thrilled by this initiative. It will benefit the community,” he said. “Among other things we will see our children benefiting in education,” he said.

Mr Tsondo urged the organisation to continue with the good work of developing the people of Khayelitsha. He said Ms Haas’s legacy must continue.

Ward 92 proportional representative councillor Philiswa Marman said she would ensure the building was protected from vandalism. She called on the community to prioritise its safety. “We are grateful to Uyesu Unathi for this. This place feeds the disadvantaged and clothes them. We should really take it upon ourselves to protect it. This will help the poor and unskilled residents. Let us do all in our power to guard it,” she said.