Unemployment, illiteracy, lack of skills, poverty and lack of access to water and electricity are just some of the realities facing young rural people today. But there is hope in the form of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC). This is a skills development programme aimed at rural youth, which is expected to create 10 000 jobs.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform introduced the NARYSEC programme in 2010 with the aim of providing unemployed youth in the rural areas with opportunities to work in their communities.
The NARYSEC targets youth from rural areas, including those living with disabilities, between the ages of 18 to 35 and who have at least passed Grade 10. It is a two-year programme aimed at empowering rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country.
About 500 candidates, who underwent an intensive seven-week training programme in Phase 1, were selected by the Department of Defence and Military Veterans at the Brug Military Base in the Free State.
Make a difference
The programme has given 28-year-old Roseline Moakamela from Kungwini Municipality in Gauteng, an opportunity to be a part of something bigger by giving her a chance to make a difference in her community. “Since I started with the training, I no longer feel hopeless and with the monthly stipend we are receiving, I can see that good things are still coming. I’m now patriotic about my country and I can’t wait to receive those skills to construct roads and houses in order to make a difference in my community,” she said.
Recently, 500 candidates graduated from the programme. Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said he looked forward to it expanding in an effort to help young people find their potential.
According to Nkwinti, the programme is part of the department’s job creation model, which targets and ensures that at least one person per household in the rural areas, where the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) is piloted, are employed for two years.
The job creation and skills development programme was initiated in line with the department’s rural development mandate to create vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities throughout South Africa.
“We look forward to expanding this programme even further to more NARYSEC participants in more military facilities,” the minister said. Candidates who have completed their two-year training will be able to help develop their own communities.
For Justice Mookudi, 34, from Morukweni in Matlhabatlhaba village in the North West, the training was a valuable experience. “Through this training I’ve learnt not to give up in life. Now, I am looking forward to receiving intensive training so that I can bring development in my area,” he said.
“I can’t wait to be an entrepreneur at my settlement and I am not going to be selfish as I will work together with other young people to bring about changes in our area,” says 25-year-old Brian Morgan Kriel from Vredendal in the Western Cape.
Values and respect
The students were trained in values, respect, leadership and negotiation skills. They also learned about their country and the African continent.
“With all those acquired skills, we believe when they return to their villages, other people will notice a difference and we believe that they will begin to revive hope in their friends,” said Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi of the Defence and Military Veterans.