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Equipping the Youth of Soweto With the Tools for Success

On 13 May, the Trevor Noah Foundation and YouthBuild South Africa celebrated the successful completion of the twelve-month Faranani Infrastructure Project (FIP).

The programme, established in 2021, has provided a lifeline to 100 youth from Soweto, with 55% of the participants being women. Through life skills, on-site training, and technical construction knowledge, it has empowered young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) with an opportunity to be economically active members of their communities. 

The Challenge

South Africa’s unemployment currently sits at a never seen before high of 65.5% making it the highest unemployment rate in the world. The situation is dire for marginalized and disadvantaged youth in Townships, especially those not taking steps to further their education, who often bear the socio-economic adversities.

The last two years have been particularly challenging, with the world grappling with the scourge of covid-19 and only recently coming out of its hiatus. To come out victorious, despite these challenges, is nothing short of remarkable. Our programme participants showed grit, resilience and heart – determined to effect change in their families and communities.

A Win-win For All

Twenty-six participants exited before project completion due to finding better opportunities, while the remaining seventy-four continued with training until graduation. As a collaborative effort between the Trevor Noah Foundation, YouthBuild South Africa, the beneficiary schools, local community stakeholders and the youth participants, the success of Faranani is truly a win-win for all involved.

“I’m so proud that we worked together to provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for youth deserving of new skills, work experience, and hope. Their achievements and resilience inspire me to scale the program so we can provide similar opportunities for as many youths as possible.” said Shalane Yuen, TNF Executive Director.

In addition to gaining accredited certificates, participants gained valuable work experience by helping uplift communities that needed work on infrastructure, particularly the six primary schools renovated in Soweto. Projects entailed maintenance work for roofing, wall refurbishment, plumbing, and electrical rewiring assistance.

Looking Towards the Future

All FIP graduates have obtained accredited Building and Civil Construction CETA qualifications, including an NQF Level 2 Safety Health and Environment Representative certificate, a NQF level 3 certificate for building and civil construction, and an NQF level 4 certificate in plumbing.

Furthermore, many graduates have since started businesses, while others have gained employment. YouthBuild South Africa also provides an aftercare programme to support graduates who are still looking for employment opportunities.


These stories of success are the ones that remind us to dare to dream beyond our circumstances. Only the brave, resilient and consistent will succeed. We want to extend gratitude to all parties that made this project successful through their support – the Department of Basic Education, Vincy Hardware Store, YouthBuild USA, the TNF board, our schools, and our programme participants.

Congratulations, FIP Class of 2021! Just as you have been empowered with skills to uplift your communities, we trust that you will pay it forward by passing on your learnings to those who need them most.

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