Giving vulnerable youth a shot at a better life

MAMAS Alliance is working with James House in Hout Bay to offer training opportunities to the youth.

Unemployment, gangsterism, substance abuse, food insecurity, crime, teen pregnancy, and HIV are just some of the social ills facing Hout Bay’s youth, but a network of grassroots organisations is working with a local NGO to give them a chance at a better life.

MAMAS Alliance, which is made up of 33 independent NGOs, helps vulnerable youth and children across South Africa. It has been working with Hout Bay’s James House for over a decade, and in the past three months they have been running a youth-development programme to train young people in basic hairdressing, photography and videography, and IT.

“The MAMAS Alliance network strives to impact the lives of children that are considered to be without a chance or future,” said Kaashifa Hoffman, deputy director of James House.

Deidre Kennis joined the programme in April and has now graduated, along with 11 others, from the hairdressing course.

“It was the best experience, because I got to learn so much in my hairdressing classes like things I never thought I would be able to do.

“Self-development taught me things I never knew about myself, like my weaknesses and strengths and much more,” she said.

“Entrepreneurship taught me to open my mind to a whole new space and to think business.”

Ms Hoffman said the programme was meant to give young people a shot at a better life.

“When a youth is equipped with essential skills, they can utilise these skills to feed and assist others,” she said. Making more youth employable ultimately benefited the economic health of the nation, she added.

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