In response to the shortage of quality education and poor infrastructure within local South African communities, Trevor Noah recently donated R8 million to the youth-driven Faranani Infrastructure Project on behalf of The Trevor Noah Foundation and in partnership with YouthBuild South Africa (YBSA). Over the course of 12 months, the Faranani Project is empowering young people with the skills and training they need to construct new buildings and rehabilitate existing assets in their local schools.
With the youth making up a staggering 46.3% of the nation’s 32.5% overall unemployment rate, 100 young, empowered minds have come together to restore their schools, communities and become part of a working economy in South Africa. It is the mission of YBSA to mobilise young adults between the ages of 17 and 29 who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) to improve their lives and communities. YBSA partners with these young people as they pursue their education, prepare for future careers and grow into community leaders, building brighter futures for themselves and their neighborhoods.
The Faranani Infrastructure Project is helping these young people give back to their community while preparing for future careers and improving the long-term standards of learning for generations to come.
Oupa Tshabalala, Executive Director of YouthBuild South Africa, says, “As our young people build schools that will sustain the community for decades to come, they are taking ownership of their neighbourhoods and forging paths to personal and professional success.”
The Scope Of The Faranani Infrastructure Project
To put it into perspective, 100 of the participants recruited from Bram Fischerville, Soweto, were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). 55% of the participants are women, some of whom were interested in the construction field but did not have the chance to participate. In the hopes of creating a more inspiring learning environment, these participants are gaining practical construction skills while strengthening their minds. In addition to construction and maintenance, key phases of the opportunity include:
- A five-day Mental Toughness orientation, concluded by the signing of a code of conduct.
- Theoretical and practical training aligned to SAQA/SETA certification.
- A monthly stipend, career counselling and life skills training with access to psychosocial support.
- Aftercare support through placement in jobs, continued education, and entrepreneurship.
Behind The Project
The Siyabonga Secondary school is one of 11 Khulani Schools who have partnered with The Trevor Noah Foundation and is benefiting from the project investment.
Thembeka Mkhize is one of the many students who attended and matriculated from Siyabonga Secondary School, and in the next coming months, she will help build their new school hall. In response to her recruitment, Mkhize had the following to say, “Through this project, I will be able to teach another young person about the skills I learned. It’s also exciting to know that as a female, I can do work in a male dominant space.”
The goal completion date for the school hall is April 2022.
The Trevor Noah Foundation noticed a need for infrastructure improvements in schools, ultimately affecting the quality of learning and teaching. Rather than outsourcing a traditional construction company, the infrastructure project is designed to uniquely improve access to quality education.
Shalane Yuen, Director at the Trevor Noah Foundation, says, “It made sense to use this opportunity to get young people involved and let the community have shared ownership of these assets. The goal here is to uplift the communities through these added skills, in hopes of when the project is over, we leave young people with tangible skills where they can give back to their communities immediately and in return, earn an income.”
Empowering The Next Generation To Rebuild, Restore & Give Back
With this project, the Foundation hopes to create newfound opportunities for young people, helping them take ownership of their communities, gain job skills and improve the local infrastructure to fit the needs of the learners and educators.
They will be very possessive of what they will be building here. They will be the ones who make sure no one vandalises [the building]. And years after, they will be telling everybody – “I did that”, adds Ms Rachael Mokonza, Siyabonga Secondary Acting Principal.
The intent is to replicate this initiative within two additional communities in 2022. The Foundation welcomes donations and in-kind material partnerships to reach more young people in these communities.
I couldn’t be more proud of the 100 young people in this program who are creating so much change. They remind me that no matter where we come from or our situation in life, all of us have the potential to do great things.” – Trevor Noah
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