YouthBuild South Africa is built on the principle of Ubuntu, the profound African notion that one’s humanity is inherently linked to the humanity of others. The principle forms the bedrock of the organization’s community service delivery in South Africa. YouthBuild implements several projects with unemployed youth in local communities as part of this drive. The programme encourages young people to become selfless leaders and crucially ready and willing to serve their communities.
On an annual basis, YouthBuild SA partners with corporates, civil society organizations, and the government to execute community asset building (CAB) projects. The projects are led and implemented in partnership with community members.
YouthBuild recruits young people who are not in formal education or work and prepares them on a range of skills. The young are provided with an opportunity to put the skills into practice through the development of infrastructure and building projects that provide services to the communities in need.
The CAB projects can range from refurbishing essential structures like schools and crèches to refurbishing green spaces such as parks, playgrounds, and public gardens.
YouthBuild Program Director, Oupa Tshabalala says Community Asset Building plays a vital role in giving young people who do not have work experience practical training on the jobs while simultaneously promoting Ubuntu by contributing to service delivery;
“Young people who are part of the YouthBuild programmes are imparted with the education that enables them to embrace the principles of humanity, and this is done so that they can appreciate the role they can play in contributing to change in society. Furthermore, the practice of Ubuntu through CAB enhances the young people’s skills as they have an opportunity to use theoretical skills they acquire from the vocational or technical training to gain more practical knowledge.”
YouthBuild SA has implemented more than 20 Community Asset Building projects across various provinces, including rural towns, since its launch in 2016. The projects are in partnership with various organizations, including the Saint Gobain, the Trevor Noah Foundation, the Department of Human Settlement and the Wilton Education Foundation.
YouthBuild SA’s most recent Community Asset Building project in partnership with the Saint Gobain Academy is the Gabrielle Crèche in Vlakfontein. The crèche, which serves about 70 children, needed space and insulated classrooms for a conducive learning environment.
After YouthBuild’s intervention, the crèche received two new classrooms with adequate insulation.
“There is a huge difference between what the crèche used to look before and how it looks now. Thank you to the Saint Gobain YouthBuild team,” says the crèche’s Renovation Projects Supervisor, Sylvie Lammens.
In his recent State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted unemployment as a crisis in South Africa. According to Statistics South Africa, 66.5% of young South Africans were unemployed between the ages of 15 and 24 at the end of the last quarter of 2021. This puts South Africa among the countries with the highest youth unemployment rates. YouthBuild SA’s vision is to contribute toward lessening the number of unemployed youth while at the same time serving communities.