NGO empowers young people with life skills

Etafeni's Fit for Life - Fit for Work programme manager Brenda Nkondlwana was excited to have more than 50 young people graduating from the programme.

More than 50 young people from Gugulethu and surrounds were presented with Life Skills and Basic Computer Skills certificates by the Etafeni Day Care Centre during graduation ceremonies held on Friday July 15 at the Siseko pre-school hall in NY43, Gugulethu.

The 52 young people participated in the NGO’s flagship programme, Fit for Life – Fit for Work.

The six-week programme trains unskilled young people who are deemed to be at risk of succuming to social ills, such as crime, gangs and substance abuse.

The training includes an extensive life skills component that helps participants better understand themselves and their worlds.

The organisation said it also trains them in various job skills, from personal grooming to approaching a prospective employer as well as employment protocol and on-the-job behaviour.

Fit for Life – Fit for Work programme manager Brenda Nkondlwana said the graduates will be supported by the NGO for a year and will be helped to apply for jobs online, among other things. She said the ultimate aim is for them to get work.

“One of our primary goals is to find employment for these young people to further aid them in their quest for personal transformation. The ages of our participants range from 18 to 30.

“For the past six years we have been able to successfully place most of our participants and we would like to continue in this vein,” she said.

Ms Nkondlwana appealed to parents to support those children who join Etafeni in an effort to empower themselves.

She said in most cases parents don’t get involved in their children’s education.

“We want them to be part of us, to support their children. Children need to be guided and to be given every support they need. (Parents should) encourage their children. If that happens, we can fight the social ills like crime and gangsterism,” she said.

Constable Thembakazi Jacobs who is a youth desk co-ordinator, inspired the graduates by sharing her story and called on the graduates to be role models.

She asked them to stand up to the pressure of those who would criticise them about their certificates simply because they are not from a known tertiary institution.

“Now that you have certificates, you go make a change in your communities.

“It does not matter where you got it from.

“This day should be a special day for you. You should pride yourselves that there are people who care for you, who value your future.

“You should count your blessings to have an organisation like a Etafeni that tries hard to empower you,” she encouraged.

Constable Jacobs said her department in the police have a database of all the organisations that work to empower young people.

She said they keep track of young people like those who graduated to see how far they go after having completed programmes with NGOs.

During her address to the graduates, police Captain Thembi Gwe reminded them of their backgrounds and appealed to them to take life seriously. Captain Gwe said self-sufficiency is the way to go.

“Think of where you come from. Look at where you are heading to. Have goals and vision. You should focus in what you want in life. Learn to be independent especial females.

“You should not depend on the blessers. If you can (say) #feesmustfall, you can (say) #blessersmustfall, and #crimemustfall,” she said.