On 16 June 2014, 400 youth aged 10 to 25 took responsibility for their communities’ social ills by initiating social upliftment programmes in their communities. The youth in Mustadafin Foundation’s youth programmes has been active in seven areas around the Western Cape on Youth Day, including Athlone, Hanover Park, Manenberg, Khayelitsha (two areas), Delft and Mitchells Plain. The planned activities ranged from handing out youth day message pamphlets, doing placard demonstrations to raise awareness against current social issues, assisting at the communities’ feeding schemes, taking part in the school or community clean-ups, drama and drumming performances for the community and entertaining and pampering at orphanages and at old age homes in their respective areas.

Youth living in disadvantaged communities face hardship on a daily basis. The most common and pressing issues these young adults face are teenage pregnancy, prostitution, school drop-outs, drug addiction,alcoholism, gangsterism , low self-esteem, illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. These children grow up in an environment where parents may be gangsters, drug addicts or alcoholics, which manifests a belief in children that it is accepted by society.

“Mustadafin Foundations’ Youth Development programmes aims to counteract these beliefs to give youth a real chance at life and to excel in the future”, says Fidaah Edries (Youth and Mental Health Co-ordinator). The programmes include “Lifeskills for Youth Resilience programme”, to equip youth with important lifeskills to cope and excel at life, positive parenting programmes, to teach parents healthy psychological and emotional upbringing of children,reading and creative writing classes, to instill the love for reading and writing, arts and craft classes aiming to enhance creativity and self-expression, drama and drumming as a form of stress relieve and self expression,  youth leadership camps to further their life and leadership skills, mentorship programme to provide the youth with positive role models and a form of support, tutoring classes to help children improve at school, kick boxing classes to instill respect, discipline and commitment in youth.  All the above programmes are provided to these youth free of charge.

Speaking about the outcomes of these programmes, Edries comments , “Last year we achieved a 99% pass rate from children in our tutoring and mentorship programmes. The youth have a lot more confidence now and are kept busy with constructive activities to help them grow as young adults. The main goals of all of the programmes are prevention, guidance and support. It provides the youth with alternative activities and a different environment compared to one filled with gangsterism and drugs.”

Youth Day is not the only day Mustadafin Foundation is active with youth social upliftment initiatives. The non-profit organization trains youth in Khayelitsha, Delft and Hanover Park to recognize the importance of taking responsibility and making a difference in their communities. These youth run Mustadafin Foundation’s youth interventions in their respective areas. “On Heritage Day we will have the Hope for the Future, social responsibility programme, where 350 youth will fulfill their social responsibilities of uplifting other youth and making a meaningful difference in their communities by being active agents for positive social change. These youth will be given a project to start in their communities which is to be focused on community upliftment. The team whose project achieves the most sustainability and consistency will get a prize at the end of the year ,” concludes Edries.