When Grace Nthebe (28) had to return home in 2019 after completing her tertiary qualifications, she felt her life had hit a stumbling block as she had no job or a solid plan of what to do next.
Little did she know that she will soon become a beacon of hope for many young people of Lindley in the east of Free State through the work of her organization, Motjha Ithole.
Qualified with an honours degree in Communication Science: Media Studies and Journalism from the University of the Free State, Nthebe is the co-founder and executive director of Motjha Ithole, which is a 100% black-owned youth development organization founded by youth for youth.
“My passion for social entrepreneurship started in 2020 when I realised how many young people in my community were facing a lot of challenges including teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, petty crimes, high school dropout rates, and unemployment.
“I believed that I could do something to change their way of thinking and general behavior so that they can have a better future. I then met with Tsienyane Mokemane and Disemelo Kambule who understood my vision, and Motjha Ithole was consequently established,” she explained.
The non-profit organisation (NPO) was established in 2020 and it is based in a small town of Lindley and it renders services to the youth of Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, with priority given to those who reside in the Nketoana Local Municipality.
“We target youth between the ages of 15 and 35, and we focus on school-going youth, as well as out of school youth. Our main aim is to emphasize the importance of education among young people so that they can complete their basic education,” she explained.
“For those who are out of school, from 16 years old and above, we offer services that aim to improve their standard of living and help them participate in economic activities. This group includes school dropouts and those who completed their studies but are unemployed,” she added.
For school-going youth, the organization renders services including psychosocial support, learning support services, coping strategies, test and exam preparation, referral/recommendation for tutoring, academic guidance and helping young people to apply for admission to institutions of higher learning.
It also has programmes such as Clothe A Learner Programme, Menstrual Health Awareness Programme, Boys Talk, Girls Talk and Human Rights Advocacy.
For out of school youth, it also offers some of the services mentioned above where appropriate, as well as career guidance, curriculum vitae development, access and application for relevant vacancies, applications for skills development training and learnerships, entrepreneurship programmes, to mention a few.
“In 2021, Motjha Ithole was among 100 organisations that won the National Youth Service Challenge hosted by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). Since then, we have partnered with the NYDA and it has exposed us to various capacity building programmes and NPO related opportunities,” Nthebe explained.
She added that the organization managed to donate 220 sanitary products to local learners, 52 sanitizers, and assisted a total of 93 young people with career and academic guidance during 2022/23.
The organization has also received 180 books from the National Library of South Africa, including 35 of Sesotho, 64 of Afrikaans, and 81of English languages.
“We are using these books in our programme called “Haven for the creatives and readers called”, which the organisation developed for the youth who love reading and writing. This programme is a safe space for both in school and out of school youth that is passionate about the arts and was made possible by funding from the National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC).
For more information, contact Motjha Ithole on 064 641 3872 or email: email@example.com NYDA website: visit www.nyda.gov.za or call 0800 58 58 58 (toll-free). NAC website: www.nac.org.za or call 011 010 8886 or email firstname.lastname@example.org