A group of concerned Khayelitsha parents have taken upon themselves the daunting task of empowering young people with critical life skills and rescuing them from drugs and gangsterism by launching a non-governmental organisation called Siyabulela.
The organisation was launched at Mew Way hall, on Saturday November 19.
Members of the organisation believe high unemployment and lack of educational opportunities rob many youngsters of a chance to make an honest living.
And they have vowed to pull out all the stops to transform young people’s lives for the better.
They said they have witnessed many young people being lured into joining gangs and doing drugs because they did not have mentors and role models.
The organisation hopes to teach the youth plumbing, carpentry, shoe-making, electrical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, among others.
Members said they identified young people who were on drugs, and vowed to work with them step-by-step to rehabilitate and transform their lives.
The organisation noted that some youth dropped out of school because they were neglected by their families and have been victims of abuse.
Violet Majola, director of the organisation, told Vukani they hoped to break the cycle of poverty.
Part of their plans, she said, was to secure land on which to build their own factory through which they could create employment opportunities.
Through this intervention, she said, they hoped they could help youth stand on their own feet and support themselves.
Ms Majola said Khayelitsha was among the townships with the highest levels of unemployment and drug abuse.
But they believe that if they can stand together and work as a collective they can turn the situation around.
“In the near future, we want to have our own company which would employ these young people. We are in the process of securing land and we have submitted (our) documentation to the City,” she said.
“We know that what we are doing is a drop in the ocean, but we all know that every journey begins with a single step.”
Ms Majola said they were also looking for effective ways of addressing the issue of access to sanitary towels for needy people.
Simphiwe Cekiso, 30, who has been on drugs for more than three years, described the initiative as a bold step which sought to reshape their lives.
He said that after he joined the organisation he had seen the impact and he had cut down on his drug use. “I’m smoking tik and dagga but I have stopped smoking dagga and I’m also aiming to stop smoking the tik,” he said.
Parent Nomvuyo Mpangele, 74, said they need more organisations such as this one to help the government tackle the challenges facing the youth.