Unemployment is a problem for all South Africans, however, it is clear that our youth has been impacted by job scarcity more than any other demographic. In fact, the youth unemployment rate reached an all-time high in the second quarter of 2021, coming in at 64.4%, compared to the average of 54.21% between 2013 and 2020.
For many experts, the secret to combatting this pressing issue is focusing more attention and resources on optimising youth development, education, guidance, and mentoring – and Uthando, an award-winning Fair Trade in Tourism certified non-profit organisation, is stepping up to the challenge.
The NPO has dedicated itself to providing funding and support to a broad variety of youth development programmes across the country, such as the Krondendal Music Academy in Hout Bay, Dance for All in the Western Cape, The Amy Foundation in Cape Town, The Pebbles Project in the Cape Winelands, and Zama Dance School in Gugulethu, to name just a few.
While having supported many of these programmes for a number of years already, the Uthando team knew that its support had never been more critical than throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dwyn Griesel of Hout Bay’s Krondendal Music Academy, “Uthando has a mandate to bring in foreign currency support and use tourism as a vehicle to build and develop infrastructure. COVID-19 put a stop to this, and yet Uthando carried on no matter what and despite a complete shutdown of the organisation’s work, Uthando continued supporting the projects they had committed to.”
How you can help, too
If you’re passionate about playing a part in the alleviation of the youth unemployment crisis, there’s plenty that you can do to make a difference and help develop our country’s talented youngsters. Here are some great tips:
- Consider becoming a mentor. If you specialise in a skill or you have experience in a specific industry or craft, consider becoming a mentor to support and guide young individuals who wish to follow a similar path.
- Make a donation. If you have the financial means, please consider contributing to a local youth development programme or centre.
- Volunteer. Youth development centres are always desperate for extra hands, whether that means assisting with tasks like fundraising planning or cooking wholesome, nutritious meals for the local participating kids and teens.
- Provide opportunities. Do you own a business? If so, please think about providing job shadowing and apprenticeship opportunities to young high-schoolers and recent graduates, allowing them to gain experience and start networking within their future industry of choice.
“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Let’s do our bit to empower and guide them towards greatness!