The LC Supports Foundation (LCSF) and the LC Packaging South Africa team have announced a partnership with Wilderness Foundation Africa whereby vulnerable young people from local communities in which LC Packaging (in)directly operates will be put through a Siyazenzela training course in order to equip them with skills to help them with pathways to various livelihood opportunities.
The Youth Development Programme of the Wilderness Foundation Africa recognizes that empowering citizens to protect and care for their local environments is vital. As such, the development of emerging leaders from previously disadvantaged communities to pursue careers in various sectors of the economy is central to this work.
Not only does this partnership benefit the natural environment but, given the well documented transformative potential of time spent in nature, it also provides fertile ground for enhancing the resilient potential of these young people. This insight has guided WFA’s Youth Development Programme which is aimed at simultaneously conserving wilderness areas, building resilience and nurturing the physical and psychological wellness of young people. In this way, the Youth Development Programme aims to tackle both environmental education and youth unemployment in South Africa.
Siyazenzela (meaning “We are doing it for ourselves”) courses are modularised basic employability and leadership skills interventions targeting approximately 200 vulnerable youth between the ages of 18 – 27 annually. Youth participating in the project gain job preparedness skills whilst also developing personal insights and understanding of themselves.
Through occupational wellness, knowledge is gained in interviewing skills, work ethics, professionalism and how to conduct oneself in the work place. The students also gain knowledge in job hunting methods and the Employment Act so as to ensure that they are aware of their rights at work. Siyazenzela provides opportunities for these young people to gain personal mastery together with valuable employability skills, transforming de-motivated job seekers into highly motivated students or employees.
Another critical component of this programme is the addition of unique wilderness experiences, based on our many years of running programmes that immerse young people in wilderness and nature to effect positive change in their lives. This takes place by means of a wilderness trail experience during which the candidates are guided in a “light touch” process to connect with the peace and resilience found in the wild.
Unemployment in general and specifically Youth unemployment is highlighted as one of the biggest challenges facing our country and of huge concern is the growing number of young people in the category referred to as NEETS, which stands for young people in neither employment, education or training which has just been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
WFA remains committed to building resilience and a mindful relationship with the environment as a means to address the present challenges of youth unemployment, the scourge of poverty, diminishing natural resources and environmental degradation. All WFA projects are designed to inspire change and encourage young people, in particular, to play their role in ensuring a prosperous future for all.
By funding the projects of WFA, funding partners contribute greatly towards alleviating poverty and assisting with the personal and social transformation of the youth.