SOUTH AFRICA: New stitching course empowers young women
Salesian Waves of Change program helps young women gain skills for employment
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Institute Youth Projects’ Waves of Change program, located in Cape Town, South Africa, provides education to at least 200 youth each year. The program recently added a “Stitching Ahead” course to teach young women hand-sewing and machine-sewing techniques.
A Salesian missionary explained, “The course starts with two weeks of life skills training followed by the three-month sewing course that will enable participants to sew basic garments for their use or to generate income through a home-based business. The goal is to help young women in Cape Town and surrounding areas gain the skills for employment.”
The Waves of Change program started as a program focused on sea fishing, which is a large industry along the Western Cape coastline in South Africa. The Salesian Institute is close to the Cape Town harbor, which provides an opportunity to train youth interested in fishing. This also ensures a steady labor force for the industry.
The program requires minimal levels of education, but jobs in the fishing industry can provide a significant income and a stable career path. The program is currently training young adults between the ages of 18 and 35.
All participants complete a 10-day life skills program. They then go on to complete safety and familiarization courses, obtain their medical certificates, and meet other requirements. Once all training and document requirements have been completed, youth can be legally employed by a fishing company.
Salesian missionaries have been able to establish partnerships with training providers such as STC Table Bay, the Academy of Maritime Medicine and Pulse College, all of which offer free training and assistance to Salesian students. In addition, missionaries have continued to nurture long-standing partnerships with Sea Harvest, Premier Fishing, the Oceana Group and others that hire graduates of the project.
Since 1910, the Salesian Institute Youth Projects has been helping homeless, unemployed and impoverished youth. Salesian missionaries provide shelter, education and workforce development services in an effort to meet the basic needs of the youth they serve while helping them break the cycle of poverty.
The Salesian Institute Youth Projects provides five main programs that help youth in the region. Programs include an outreach program, a hostel for homeless youth, a learn-to-live education program and two workforce development programs. The programs are managed by a diverse group of individuals, and some live on the premises to support youth in the hostel and outreach programs.
Poverty is extensive in South Africa with more than half the population and more than 63% of children living below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. A significant percentage of the population struggles to survive on less than $1 a day. The country is plagued by high crime rates and violence against women and girls, and it has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world. There is an urgent need for education to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus and to help lift youth out of poverty.
Photo courtesy of Salesian Institute Youth Projects
Salesian Missions – South Africa
UNICEF – South Africa