Mamelani’s Youth Development Programme has grown from strength to strength. The young people’s stories are ultimately what inspire us most! When asked about how they see their growth, one of the young people shared that:

“I would say with the continued mentoring and support Mamelani gave me an opportunity to find my power and to find more self-belief. I have realised the importance of my relationships with other people. I needed to make an effort grow my relationships and to take responsibility” and another shared “I am not as shy as when I joined the programme”.

These are often the things that are difficult to measure – the internal shifts that young people make – but we believe that these shifts are a fundamental part of our work. We intentionally work towards young people believing in themselves and building the internal resilience as well as the relationships that will take them forward in their lives.

We also focus on the skills and practical resources they need to move ahead. Phelokazi who you read about in our last newsletter has been accepted to study Auxiliary Social Work. She shared: “I want to study social work because I know how it feels to have responsibilities that are more than you can handle as a child. I want to inspire young people, who know my history. I want to show them that scars can be turned into stars” She is the first recipient of the Sandile Mhi Bursary Fund. Sandile passed away in December of 2013.This fund has been set up his memory to help other young people reach their dreams!

Over the last few months our work has continued with young people from our 6 partner Child and Youth Care Centers, preparing them for the world out there, as well as working closely with the staff who care for them in these Centers.  This work is being done in partnership with the Department of Social Development, and has seen us working towards each Center being able to design and implement their very own Transitional Support Programme. This is the first time Mamelani has embarked on a Capacity building process of this kind – with other organisations – and we have learned so much from the journey so far.

Our most recent learning Forum with Child and youth Care workers from all the Centers got us really excited! The child and youth care workers have shown a high level of engagement and openness to learning new things – and although the process in each Center is different, we can see the growth that is happening, not only in what they are doing to prepare young people, but more importantly, in how they go about it. Feedback from the participants reflects the impact it has made on them:

“The process has helped us to find solutions”

“It was a healing and honouring experience – I feel energised and excited”

“I realised that we need to stop pointing fingers and start holding hands – we need to work as a team and come up with creative ways to support the young people in our Center”

July saw much engagement with the Department of Social Development, Provincially and Nationally. We were honoured to present our programme in Johannesburg at a National Meeting regarding issues facing in the Child and Youth Care Sector. We are excited about being able to share our work on different platforms, and more recently shared lessons learned in our programme at a UCT Colloquium on Youth in Transition click here.  July was also Madiba month and the youth in our programme spent Mandela Day at the Artjamming studio painting a canvases in honour of Madiba. We were impressed with the beautiful messages and artworks produced by the Proseeders!

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