The fun-filled colourful day, themed “Christmas in June”, had a serious purpose: to find solutions for the challenges the youth of the Kouga region face on a daily basis.
Unlikely friendships were formed across all age groups during the day, when the learners from schools and young people from towns across the Kouga region, started doing group activities with their ‘older’ counterparts: teachers, principals, youth workers and business representatives.
The Youth Intervention was hosted by Siyaloba Training Academy, in partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, at the Newton Hall in Jeffreys Bay. The main outcome of the Youth Intervention was to ensure that future projects and funding continue to be in line with actual community needs, aspirations and linked to opportunities in the area.
Siyaloba has a long-standing partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, said Kouga representative Bukelwa Yozo. “Since skills development was identified in an earlier Youth and Community Dialogue hosted in St Francis Bay in 2015, a total of 109 learners have received training in the Kouga region through a partnership with Siyaloba Training Academy. The purpose of our second Youth Day was to revive the dialogue and see if there were new challenges we could address, in conjunction with our partners,” said Yozo.
Siyaloba has a massive footprint in the coastal communities of the Kouga region and a solid track record of large scale community development project success. “The communities living in the Kouga region are extremely important to us, particularly vulnerable youth who have to battle substance abuse, unemployment and low literacy and educational levels,” said Siyaloba Training Academy Founder and Managing Director Betsy Ings.
The purpose of the day was to not only find solutions for these and other barriers to youth development in the region, but to also give the youth who attended the dialogue hope for their future through practical information and inspirational speakers hailing from the local community.
One of the speakers, Willie Oosthuizen from The Co-op, encouraged the unemployed youth to volunteer for other businesses and organisations, as this is how he became employed and “living his dream” of investing into other people’s lives.
Another speaker, Debbie Minya from Woodlands Dairy, said even though she had to start at the bottom in her career, she worked hard to get to her current position and encouraged learners to do the same – saying “your attitude determines your altitude”.
“I learnt my circumstances do not determine the outcome of my life,” said one participant Toni Williams (15).
Another participant, Lwandisiwe Mhlakasi (19), said she learnt that having a good attitude, can make a big difference in life.
The various stakeholders and representatives from business were also given an opportunity to share the different learnerships, bursaries and entrepreneurial opportunities available through the National Youth Development Agency, Siyaloba Training Academy, The Co-Op and Woodlands Diary.
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