#My67 taking a stand with MySchool, My Village, My Planet and Better SA

This year in celebration of what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100thbirthday, I decided to go beyond the normal 67 minutes to help play a role in one of the biggest issues facing South Africa. Unemployment has historically been one of the biggest challenges in South Africa, in fact, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has stated that job creation with an emphasis on youth employment opportunities lies at the centre of government’s national agenda for 2018. This is why this year for #My67 I decided to collaborate with MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet and Better SA for the innovative event focused on playing a role in tackling the issue of unemployment amongst the youth.

 

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According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) the unemployment rate of youths aged 15 to 24 years old is 51.1% and the unemployment rate of youths 25-34 years old is 33.4%. These figures illustrate the challenges that youths face when looking for employment and that majority of the unemployment and lack of opportunities in South Africa starts from the youth. The youth of South Africa is the future of this country and the more we do not do anything to assist in improving the current situation the more we will stagnate as a nation and the levels of poverty will keep increasing over time.

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This year’s Nelson Mandela Foundation theme is “be the legacy” which I interpreted as a call to action for people to make a change and actively do something to contribute to a better and productive society. Mandela Day with its #actionagainstpoverty tag aims to inspire sustained citizen action and to get all South Africans playing their part in building a better country for all on an ongoing basis. This project provides us with a platform to do so by contributing through volunteerism, which is great because absolutely anyone can be a part of it and make a change just by being present and sharing their experiences. Volunteers were tasked to share any skills and abilities to mentor and coach individuals. There were 67 beneficiaries from local youth programmes Ikamva Youth, YES Youth Employment Service, Refilwe Community Projectand the Emdeni Youth Programme, and they were transported to Wanderers through the BetterSA minibus system. Volunteers were stationed at three different sections which all came together to equip the youth with everything they need to get work-ready.

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Station 1:

The youth had their handwritten CV’s edited and transcribed into professional profiles and each individual learnt the importance of presentation and organisation of their information to help create a professional impression on paper.

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Station 2:

Role modelling interviews was the other session, which helped the youth understand the setting and dynamics of professional interviews. Volunteers provided intensive coaching that helped to prepare the youth for interviews in the different industries and career paths that each individual would branch into. This station was focused on building their confidence and help equip them with all the tools they need to have a successful interview

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Station 3:

BEC_8515.JPGWardrobe-fitting station, this is where I was based. I used all of my experience in fashion, styling and consulting to help these individuals look work-ready. I must admit this was one of the best stations because you could physically see these individuals change, their confidence heighten and dreams become closer to a reality. We got them fitted and styled in quality clothing and showed them how to dress appropriately in different work environments. The clothing items were provided by Clothing Bank and the youth took home all of the clothing that was given to them (jacket, quality shirts, suits, ties, dresses etc…)

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“Many young South Africans struggle to get into the job market, this is not because they don’t have the education or the aptitude to do the job, but rather they lack the resources they need to get noticed, secure an interview and present themselves effectively. A professional CV, coupled with some work experience and a recommendation letter improves a young person’s chances of entering the work environment. This year’s celebration of Mandela’s centenary was a particularly heart-warming volunteer experience, where those with work experience and a desire to help the youth came together to help these 67 promising young people to at least get up on that first rung of the ladder.” says Helene Brand, MySchool’s CSI Manager,

 

Not only was this experience so life changing for me it was impactful for the youth, as each one of them walked away with all of the skills that they need to be able to have a successful interview and have a better chance of gaining employment and to essentially live to see their dreams become a reality. Each individual was so unique and ambitious, we had future lawyers, doctors, presenters, marketing consultants and so much more, all of this made me realise the potential that surrounds us and how beautiful the future of South Africa looks like.

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If you are interested in other meaningful volunteer experiences, please visit the Better SA website via this link www.bettersa.organd you can sign up for Saturday morning events in Cape Town and Johannesburg.  BetterSA organises a range of volunteer activities and operates a Hop on Hop off minibus service for entirely hassle-free, enriching volunteer experiences. Please come get involved in being the legacy and creating a change.

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For anyone that might not know about the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programm, it helps enables customers to raise funds for the causes they care about most every time they shop, you can apply for your card and swipe your card at Woolworths, Engen, Waltons, Garden Shop, Loot.co.za or any other partner store, the participating retailers will donate a percentage of your purchase value, on your behalf, to the beneficiaries you have chosen to support – all at absolutely no cost to you, so you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. To get involved and to get your card go to http://www.myschool.co.za/to apply for your free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, and select up to three beneficiary organisations.

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