Youth Month has arrived, and this gives us a chance to reflect on how far we have come as South Africans in protecting and putting our young people first. One of the most glaring issues facing the youth in our country is unemployment. With the current unemployment rate at around 28% for all South Africans, and 74% for people aged 15 – 24, it’s easy to feel helpless when considering the challenges young people face. What are the barriers the youth have to employment, and how can we as ordinary citizens can help the youth of today overcome these challenges?
Prior to the pandemic, the statistics for unemployed youth sat at around 70%, which indicates that the issue of jobless youth is not a new crisis. According to reports from the South African government, young people are struggling to find employment due to factors like a lack of education, and not having required skills or previous experience as demanded in the labour market. They also report that of the youth that are fortunate enough to be in a position of employment, many of them are on a casual basis without any promising futures, and more than likely don’t have any benefits like medical aid, a pension fund and paid sick leave.
As one looks at practical ways to make a sustainable impact on the lives of these young people, education is one of the top priorities. With access to quality education, skills development, workplace or practical experience, and opportunity, we can empower the youth to build a better future for themselves. One such initiative that aims to assist passionate youth wanting to become qualified teachers is the Dream2Teach Scholarship Fund, a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet teaching scholarship programme for hard-working students who want to become teachers, but who don’t have the financial means to achieve their dream. This fund partners with scholarship and teaching internship initiatives to ensure young students get the education and the experience they need to become amazing teachers. These initiatives include Francois Pienaar’s Make A Difference (MAD) Foundation, Realama and the St. Peter’s Foundation internship programme. Together with MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet’s Dream2Teach scholarship fund they are able to tackle two problems at once – youth unemployment and South Africa’s shortage of qualified, passionate teachers.
You can also help our youth by supporting these causes every time you shop. Simply join MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, select one of these youth-assisting beneficiaries as your chosen cause and give back to them, without it costing you a cent.
“MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet was started on the core value of giving back to our community through education. We have since grown our outreach, but the focus on education has never changed,” says Pieter Twine, General Manager at MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet. “We pride ourselves on working with expert scholarship partners in the fields of education, to make it possible for those who need the support to advance into tertiary education and become qualified teachers. As always, we are incredibly grateful to our supporter base who make it possible for these dreams to become reality.”
One success story is that of Ronel Tsoute from Luckhoff in the Free State. Thanks to MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporters who swipe their cards while shopping, Ronel is able to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Awarded the scholarship in 2018, she joined the MAD Foundation programme, which includes extensive support and access to valuable resources over the four years of studying.
Speaking of her experience while preparing for her career as a teacher, Ronel notes the important role education plays in the future of our country: “I used to admire my Grade 1 teacher, and when I would go home, I would play out all the games and activities we did on that day. She inspired me. I love teaching, and I love standing in front of the classroom presenting to the children. I can’t wait to have my own classroom to grow my connection with the children because of my passion for interacting with them. “
There are thousands of young people just like Ronel Tsoute, who will not only benefit greatly from an education on a personal level, but who will take their new skills and plough it back into their communities, and shape the minds of other young people. It’s up to everyday South Africans to make this possible.
This is as simple as signing up for a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card at www.myschool.co.za and choosing Dream2Teach as one of your beneficiaries. Signing up is free, and whenever you make a purchase at a retail partner store, a portion of your spend goes directly to your chosen cause – at no extra cost to you. Retail partners include Woolworths, Engen, Builders, Bidvest Waltons and more.