Studies show that around 120,000 young adults and children live on the streets of the Western Cape. Much of South Africa’s youth is in crisis and Salesians founder, St. John Bosco, recognised this and formed the Institute over 110 years ago, with a core focus on safeguarding and improving the lives of young people in order to create a better future for our country. In the Western Cape alone, 44% of the population are under the age of 25 and nearly a third of these young people live in poverty, with many suffering from severe deprivation.
The Salesian Institute Youth Projects is a local NGO, located on Somerset Road in Green Point, that exists to serve vulnerable children and youths at risk, regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality. They do so by providing them with education, shelter and emotional support, and equipping them with the skills required to for them to stay out of danger, find employment, and lead a happy and positive life.
The Salesians programmes have classes offered to children and youths who have left the South African schooling system or those who come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. They offer basic skills to those who have been unable to pass their matric exams, such as woodcraft, electrical and hospitality skills, and train disadvantaged individuals to become employed in the automotive service and maritime industries.
Additional life skills are passed on to at-risk youths, in order to instil self-confidence and social skills, and to teach them about budgeting, time and stress management, violence sensitisation, goal-setting and positive thinking, to name just a few.
Their Learn to Live School of Skills recently took part in the first-ever virtual World Education Week conference, where 100 schools from around the world were invited to speak on a variety of topics, and were one of only seven schools in South Africa asked to speak. The Institution shared their insights on the implementation of project-based learning, being one of just a few schools in this country piloting this methodology.
Project-based learning encourages learners to think interdependently, communicate clearly, manage impulsivity, take responsible actions and apply past knowledge to new experiences and real-world challenges. This learning takes place in a dynamic classroom environment and aims to encourage better work habits and attitudes toward learning.