Youth Day Inspiration: Focused on the Future

WDB believes in investing in South Africa’s youth, and since 2017 WDB Investment Holidngs has been running several internship prorammes. For the first time, interns were sources and placed in rural areas where the WDB Trust operates.  We spoke to three interns who started their year-long internships in March 2022 about their experiences, the challenges faced by the youth and their hopes for the future.

June 2022

Youth Day 2022

Rosinah Luvhengo is 26 years old and hails from Lukhalo village in Limpopo. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts Youth Development at the University of Venda, unfortunately she only managed to get part-time jobs in retail, despite having a degree.

She got an internship with WDB Trust’s Zenzele Thulamela programme earlier this year, and has been learning a lot about office administration and systems.

Having exposure to the Zenzele psycho-social programme is currently the highlight of her internship.

 

“I love how WDB works to give back to the community through community development and giving people the support they need and the information they didn’t know about.”

 

She has been involved in conducting the Poverty Stoplight survey in the villages nearby. The WDB Trust adopted the Stoplight methodology a few years back – a technology platform that helps organisations like WDB Trust to assess the specific needs of communities and how to assist (in practical ways) so that they can be lifted out of poverty.

“I went along when the Development Facilitators (DF’s) were doing the Stoplight surveys. I helped them in capturing the information and I helped with doing Stoplight analysis.”

“I went to the field to assist the Development Facilitators (DF’s) who were doing the Stoplight surveys, and I learnt a lot of things. I even did the survey with a few families. I was able to ask them the question and tick on the scorepad, I also helped with the Stoplight analysis.”

She says that people were generally quite open with their information, as she had been properly introduced by the DF’s, and in most instances she was made to feel welcome. For Rosinah, the fact that WDB is there to help in a real way means a lot to her.

“WDB is an organization that’s it’s so willingly to help people and they are doing a very good job.  Even though at first, people believe that this organization was supposed to give them something in return – for instance, maybe food parcel or something. But WDB is not about hand-outs. It’s teaching people to be able to stand on their own.”

While South Africa’s youth face many challenges, she believes that they also need to come to the party with solutions.

“They [the youth] will be complaining about unemployment, but then they’re not doing anything about it. Or you find out at someone who doesn’t even have a matric, but they are not willing to go back to school or attend groups for job preparedness and that sort of thing. I think sometimes it’s up to us to ask what are we doing to help ourselves instead of just putting blame on people while we have nothing to offer.”

She has a strong sense of self and believes her positive attitude will take her far in life.

“The situation I grew up in was not an easy one. So lots of things I’ve learned on my own and I have a lot of self discipline. I’ve always wanted to be someone else through education, I think this positive vibe and this attitude it comes from the education I was offered and how willingly I was able to take it.”

rhdr

Gugulethu Zwane grew up in Somerset Village and after school, she went to the University of Limpopo to study social work 2014 to 2017. She thoroughly enjoyed her studies, but like Rosinah, couldn’t find employment despite her qualification.

“I was very disappointed,” she says, “You study and then you are not able to do anything with your degree. I was so sure there would be a lot of people needing my services.”

She was thrilled to get the WDB Trust internship, working with the team from Acornhoek in Mpumalanga, and has enjoyed being exposed to a variety of administration jobs from taking and typing minutes to data capturing and consolidation.

“It’s a positive experience because I didn’t know anything about administration, I only knew what I studied – so it’s really helpful being exposed to new things.”

Going forward, she hopes to be exposed to a bit more of the psycho-social aspects of WDB’s Zenzele programme, so that she can put her studies to good use. And she hopes that one day she might have the opportunity to be a development facilitator in the field working with communities.

The rate of unemployment is very frustrating and disheartening for young people like Gugulethu.

She says, “I graduated on the 18th of September 2018. Yeah, but I wasn’t working until on the 3rd of March this year. Imagine – four whole years without employment. It’s devastating because we go to school with the hope that we want to change our lives. So if you come back home without having a job, it’s a big problem.”

Government doesn’t necessarily need to provide more jobs, points out Gugulethu, but the youth definitely need to gain more skills, particularly business skills.

“Jobs are scarce, at least with entrepreneurial skills, the youth will have a chance to make a difference in their own lives. People could sell things, that’s why people need to get educated in how to run a business.”

She has dreams for a brighter future.

Gugu

 

I would really like to use my social work skills to help people. What’s the point of going to school studying for a certain degree and not use what you learn? That just does not add up,” says Gugulethu. “My hope is to become successful and I don’t want the way I grew up to define me, I want to become a better person.

Noxolo Witness Nsele is based in Maphumulo village in KZN, and obtained her Batchelor of Social Work from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

She heard about the WDB internship from the SASSA department in her area, and was thrilled to start working with Ammandi Mhlongo, WDB’s Project Coordinator.

Like Gugulethu and Rosinah, Noxolo has learnt a lot of administration skills during her few months with WDB, she has also enjoyed going to the field to conduct Stoplight surveys.

Noxolo says, “It has been very interesting, and I am learning a lot by asking questions that really need to be asked – about people’s situations and about how they are living. Some people are happy to open up, but others are not. Most of them are really struggling. They are unemployed and they are hustling.”

She is very impressed with how practical WDB is when it comes to helping people, the recent floods being a case in point.

“During the heavy floods they distributed vouchers to people who experienced the disaster. WDB is doing very good work.”

WDB has given Noxolo a lot of inspiration, and she hopes to continue working in the field of social work, perhaps with her own office one day – but she knows that the road ahead will not be an easy one.

She believes there are no quick and easy solutions to help the youth with the unemployment situation, but points out that training about how to run small businesses could be a good strategy.

“I think they need to be educated about businesses, about how to hustle – everyone needs training on how to earn a stable income. This would really be helpful because so many of the youth are really passionate about starting their own businesses.”

Noxolo II