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A newly-built, world-class multi-million-rand youth development centre

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A newly-built, world-class multi-million-rand youth development centre is set to radically transform the lives of hundreds of children living in Malusi, an informal settlement located in Pretoria West popularly known Gomorrah.

The centre has been built by New Schools of H.O.P.E and The Given Foundation, non-profit organisations dedicated to building and operating early childhood development (ECD) centres, schools and youth facilities, in partnership with Malusi Youth Development Organisation (MYDO), Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), SABRIX, HI Steel, PPC and various donors in a total investment of R2 million.

“In one of the most volatile communities in the country, and one with extreme levels of poverty, children struggle to make it through school due to the shortage of study spaces,” says Alida Fourie a founder of New Schools of H.O.P.E. “In their homes, space is limited and many of them don’t even have electricity at night to do their homework.

“This facility is designed to provide a conducive environment for individuals, group and facilitated studying in a safe, inspiring space that can make a very real difference in the children’s lives,” Fourie says.

Gomorrah has an estimated population of 26 000 people, much of which is made up of school going children of all ages.

MYDO was established in early 2015, after the realisation that most youth living in impoverished communities, especially informal settlements are struggling to continue or complete their education and to have a positive sense of self and place in the world.

An informal structure was established, but over the years, a growing demand meant that not all children could be served and would be destined to roam the streets.

The recent investment is expected to bring about a massive change in the community, as the organisation has been struggling with resources and infrastructure to carry its programs efficiently and effectively.

The structure is spacious, with an area of 24 by 15 meters, including two open space for homework, and library. There are also four toilets, one kitchen, two additional private study rooms, two computer rooms, three executive and operations offices, one boardroom and a reception area.

The facility is also connected to a CCBSA’s Bizniz in a Box container tuck shop business, which will allow it to earn much-needed revenue to go towards its running and maintenance costs.

“Every day we register more and more children the number has already been doubled with the new facility, we were serving about 80 children in the old facility,” says Hlakudi Malatji, MYDO founder. “Already, the number is just over 200, and registration keep flooding in. The children are then allocated shifts, as we can only accommodate 100 at a time under normal circumstances.

“We want to serve as many children as possible by using shifts to ensure that each child gets a chance to use the facility, since the demand for these services and programmes are overwhelming in this community where we are the only organisation of this nature,” says Malatji.

In the short-term, the goal is to provide stable, quality programmes to the community of Gomorrah through the centre, in particular youth and children.

Over the long-term, MYDO’s vision is to expand the various programmes significantly, enhancing the facility into multipurpose centre. It will provide quality skills development programme and targeted training that will give youth better chances to get employment, start business and cooperatives. The ultimate goal is to bring down the youth unemployment rate, which is now at the highest it’s ever been in the country.

“As a business with our manufacturing operation located nearby, that has in recent years supported a number of activities and programmes within the community, we decided to become a key sponsor of this project because we wanted to make a significant and lasting impact on the lives of the community,” said Nathalie Hendricks, Regional Public Affairs and Communications Manager at CCBSA.

“We recognise that by investing in the development of young people and granting them access to a safe learning environment, they would be able to transform their future prospects and at the same time provide the community a facility they can all be proud of”, Hendricks says.

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