As citizens across South Africa and its borders honoured the former statesman, Nelson Mandela, Siyaloba Training Academy learners also dedicated 67 minutes of their time to honour Madiba’s legacy of ubuntu – by making warm blankets to fight the cold in their communities.
Siyaloba Training Academy is a non-profit social enterprise focussed on improving lives in coastal communities through skills development.
Siyaloba Training Academy Director Karen Reid said all the learners involved in the Mandela Day initiative are engaged in accredited Siyaloba learnerships – which provide skills development for unemployed youth across the Eastern Cape.
“The Mandela Day initiative is an important point in the learners’ skills development journey as it offers a chance for them to make the shift from beneficiary to someone who can add value to the community where they come from. Many of the learners have been unemployed for a long period of time,” Reid said.
A learnership is a 12 month-programme where the learners complete structured classroom training, which is combined with work placement to gain practical experience.
“Some of the blanket beneficiary organisations are acting as workplace hosts for the learners. Siyaloba places the learners at other social enterprises or NGOs, where learners can implement their new computer, administrative and professional communication skills to add value to the organisations’ work in the community,” Reid said.
Bulelani Mafana, one of the Siyaloba Training Academy learners from Joe Slovo, recommended his local clinic to receive the donation of blankets. “Many people going to the clinic rely on a social grant as their only form of income. It is really good to do something for other people, and not getting anything in return for it,” Mafana said.
Beneficiary organisations nominated by the learners included a community centre in Kwanobuhle, a day-care centre in New Brighton, the Joe Slovo Clinic, a church’s soup kitchen in Kwazakhele as well as a clinic in the Kouga area.
“It is a great idea for Siyaloba Training Academy, who is also a non-profit organisation, to do this for our communities every year. It is wonderful that they let the learners choose who they want to support in their communities. The number of blankets we make increases every year and it feels good to be doing this for Madiba,” said another learner, Nosiya Lorna Makwetu.
The learners are completing accredited General Education and Training Certificate in Business Practice aimed at entry-level personnel and emerging entrepreneurs.
Siyaloba Training Academy is currently training 100 learnerships across their Port Elizabeth and Kouga sites. The learnerships are funded through various sources, including SETA and corporate CSI/Skills development.
Siyaloba Training Academy learners also cleaned the library and donated book vouchers to Jarvis Gqamlana Primary School in New Brighton.