Today’s youth who aren’t attending school, and who grow up in informal settlements or poor communities, often lack stable school experiences and in turn, life opportunities. They may develop feelings of hopelessness, with little focus on or plans for the future. As a result of South Africa’s high unemployment rates, many young people lack the self-belief required when searching for a job. Risk of failure often holds young people back, so some wander aimlessly, filling their days with little while their boredom grows. However, these very same people when given an opportunity to gain work experience in a supportive and empowering environment, will rise to the occasion.
With this in mind, Youth for Christ KwaZulu-Natal runs a 10 month internship programme that offers local young people, between 18 and 25, the opportunity to volunteer and gain child and youth work experience. Our vision is to create a generation of empowered, motivated citizens who work within, through and around their circumstances to create meaningful change in their lives, the lives of their family and friends and of their communities. In an environment where a strong work ethic is both modeled and required of these young people, opportunities to learn and grow in ways that they were unable to during their schooling years becomes the springboard to transformation and greater opportunities for success.
For interns who excel and show a keen interest in pursuing a career in child and youth work, YFC/KZN offers a second-year internship where they continue to work with children and youth, develop their leadership and project management skills as well as begin formal studies.
The projects which our interns are involved in include those serving children on the streets, providing residential care, community family preservation work and school-based gender and HIV/AIDS awareness and education. This adds huge value to our programmes, bringing caring people into the lives of children and school-going youth, while also giving the interns the chance to develop their own skills, alongside other trained staff members, when addressing some of the complicated issues that our beneficiaries face.
The interns themselves often come from the communities they work in. This means our network grows, allowing us to reach more young people, while gaining insight into community life from the interns.
YFC/KZN is committed to instilling and offering interns an opportunity to become followers of Christ, to grow spiritually and to love Christ by serving those in need.
The mission is to provide opportunities for young people to actively participate in their own holistic development, through a combination of work experience, training and personal development programs. This includes developing skills to equip them for future employment and/or study while also learning to serve others, set and work towards achievable goals, learning about themselves and developing greater understandings though learning to think in different and creative ways.
- Work experience: serving in a voluntary capacity in a project working with disadvantaged youth, being mentored by child and youth care workers
- Training: a combination of accredited and non-accredited training looking at areas of personal and professional development. Formal training is provided on a monthly basis, in a creative classroom environment. Monthly themes are focused on including social issues, building relationships with young people, group work skills and “my future”. This training also includes wilderness outdoor experiences as an opportunity for self-discovery, to realise their strengths, the value of operating as a team and creative problem-solving in a life giving and nurturing environment. Training is based on foundations for Christian beliefs, Christian discipleship and evangelism allowing the interns to deepen and share their faith
- Personal development program: individual meetings to address growth and develop skills in setting and working towards goals both personally and professionally. Active participation in own development is encouraged, showing motivation and dedication to learning and growing.