Unemployed youth between the ages of 16 and 25 are being given access to opportunities through nine innovative Youth Cafés opened by the Western Cape government.
Part of the Provincial Youth Development Strategy, the Youth Cafés provide much more than a cup of good coffee.
They offer a free platform where the youth can access skills and personal development training, mentoring, computers and the internet, wellness programmes and a supportive, caring environment.
Last year, over 15 000 youth benefitted from the services offered by the Youth Cafés.
“Youth Cafés provide an invaluable service to many of our communities throughout the province as they empower the youth with a sense of personal accountability and upskill them. Through the programmes, the youth are exposed to opportunities available at TVET institutions and other linkages,” explains Western Cape Government Media Liaison Officer Cayla Murray.
Each of the nine Youth Cafés are designed to suit the needs of the surrounding communities.
For example, in Nyanga, the café focuses on combining the sport of soccer with personal development. Meanwhile, the Youth Café in Mitchell’s Plain offers training in fields such as digital technology, business development and creative design.
Programmes at the cafés are supported by expert partners such as RLabs, Amandla EduFootball, the Sozo Foundation and Stuff Film Academy, to ensure that training is of a high quality.
Alishia Soman (21) is an intern at the Youth Café in Oudtshoorn. She started going to the café as a youth, taking life skills courses.
“I learnt a lot through the life skills courses. The café is really helping many youths with opportunities to improve themselves,” said Soman.
The café helped Soman find her passion and made her realise what she wanted to do.
“I realised that I want to become a part of the solution for youth. So I started at the centre as a volunteer, and then I became an intern. After my internship, I hope to be employed by the café full time, working in the life skills programmes,” she said.