SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa commemorates Youth Month which is observed annually in June and this year’s theme is: “Accelerating collaborations and opportunities to improve the lives of the youth”. Each year, June 16 is a day to reflect on the struggles faced by the youth of 1976 and to celebrate their contributions towards the liberation of the country.
It is during this time, in perfect conjunction with this year’s theme, that SOS Children’s Villages highlights the importance of deeper and more meaningful collaboration and investment in equipping the youth with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop into independence.
“The challenges faced by our youth require urgent and bold interventions that can make a real difference in their lives, families, and communities. Through the various partnerships we have established over the years, SOS Children’s Villages provides its young programme participants with a number of opportunities such as mentorship programmes and entrepreneurial training”. – Peter Kotlolo, SOS Children’s Villages National Projects Coordinator and Acting Programme Director in Sekhukhune.
Through its YouthCan! programme, SOS Children’s Villages provides children under its care with career guidance, mentorship programmes, and practical on-the-job experience to contribute to the sustainable livelihood and resilience of young people so that they can be self-reliant. Through our corporate partnerships, our YouthCan! participants receive professional training opportunities in the beauty, hospitality, and art industries; and they also get learnerships, internships and job-shadow opportunities.
Our other youth-orientated programme is YouthLinks. Here, the programme participants – young people, are linked with seasoned mentors from different sectors who can provide them with support and guidance in their career paths. The limitations posed by their geographical locations are overcome by technological interventions to ensure that the programme participants participate in the training and mentorship programme.
Each of our programme locations has a Youth Development Coordinator who is responsible for providing young people with the support they require to ensure that our youth development programmes improve the lives of young people.
It is only through a concerted effort from civil society organisations, the private and commercial and government sectors’ collective and collaborative commitment that South Africa’s young people can be equipped with the necessary skills to ensure that they are self-sufficient and contributing members of society.
As SOS Children’s Villages, we are committed to alleviating the burden of unemployment faced by today’s youth.
About SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa
SOS Children’s Villages is an independent, non-governmental organisation that advocates for the rights of South Africa’s most marginalised children. We offer loving, family-like care for children and young people who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care. Established in 1984, SOS has eight Children’s Villages and three Social Centres across eight provinces.
Each year our Alternative Care, Family Strengthening and Youth Employability programmes provide life-changing support to more than 5 000 children across the country.
The Alternative Care model comprises of four principles that include a mother (each child has a caring parent), brothers and sisters (the family ties grow naturally), a house (a secure place to grow up in) and a village (the SOS family is part of the community).
Our Family Strengthening Programme aims to enable children who are at risk of losing the care of their families to grow within a safe family environment, by building the family’s resilience. We work in co-operation with local authorities and other service providers to empower families and communities to effectively protect and care for their children.