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Educating and empowering vulnerable children and youth

Our Programmes

Salesian Youth / What We Do / Our Programmes


Vulnerable children and youth at risk in South Africa face a wide variety of problems, the biggest of which are access to education, employment and basic social skills. Our programmes are designed to address these problems head on so that vulnerable youth can find meaningful work, take care of themselves and reintegrate as productive members of the community.

Our programmes range from basic training for youths with little or no education to more advanced job-specific skills programmes. All our programmes seek to restore dignity and self-esteem and provide the life skills needed to succeed.


16Plus Outreach Project: Finding at-risk youths where they live

programme-16plusWe don’t just wait for needy youths to come to us: our 16Plus Project gets us into the poorest townships to find at-risk youths and get them the help they need, either by connecting them with government services or enrolling them in our programmes.

Our often-heroic outreach workers act not only as guides to government services, but also as social workers and counsellors to get these young people back on track and away from gangs – a constant danger in these poorer communities.

Our approach is varied, ranging from activities like drumming and surfing to arts and crafts – all aimed at building relationships and giving youth a foothold in normal society. We build relationships and instill motivation while offering choices and the chance for change.


Don Bosco Hostel: Supporting the neediest with housing and more

programme-donboscoWhen our 16Plus Project outreach team comes across young men who are at risk for drug addiction, joining gangs or dropping out of school, they are invited to apply to the YES project for one of their courses. Once accepted onto one of the courses, they have the option of staying in the hostel for the duration of their training.


Learn-to-Live: Filling in the gaps

programme-l2lMany of the children and youth we serve have dropped out from school or never attended in the first place. The Learn-to-Live programme gets them up to speed in basic literacy, numeracy and other areas to prepare the youth for further vocational training for the world of work.

Our academic programmes are certified by the Western Cape Education Department and feature classes in:

  • Home Language (English, Afrikaans and Xhosa)
  • Mathematics
  • First Additional Language (English and Afrikaans)
  • Life Skills
  • Creative Arts
  • Physical Education

For vocational training, we offer classes led by master craftspeople and mentors in these areas:

  • Woodcraft
  • Welding and Metalwork
  • Panel-beating
  • Arts and Crafts

Our Learn-to-Live graduates either go on to other schools, find jobs or start their own small businesses.


YES Project: Getting young people back on track

programme-yesThis intensive eight-week course is aimed at giving young people the social and job skills they need to support themselves in today’s South Africa. Each class starts with intensive group training in life skills, where they learn about personal development, the work environment and the social challenges facing the young people of today.

Students then select from a range of practical skills courses:

  • Computer Literacy & Office Management
  • Computer Maintenance & Repair and Mobile Application Development
  • Bricklaying & Plastering
  • Hospitality

Each course stresses hands-on learning, an ideal way to learn for many of these under-schooled youth. On graduation, students receive a certificate and ongoing help with job placement.


Waves of Change: Partnering with the fishing industry

programme-wavesDeep-sea fishing is a large and growing industry in South Africa. We have partnered with one of the biggest companies in the sector, I&J, to train some 200 young men each year, which then gives them the opportunity to work at sea.

In addition to job-specific training in the Pre-Sea Course, participants attend a unique Life Skills course to learn workplace behaviour, self-esteem and household skills. At the end of the course, participants not only have the hard skills employers want, but also the social skills needed to be successful and sought-after mariners.

The Sewing Circle

Live it, wear it, love it! The Sewing Circle is a new edition here at Salesians. Miss Ursular provides free sewing training for unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 26. The course runs for 12 weeks. Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm. The students learn life skills, cutting, machine sewing and garment making. Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 3.48.06 PM


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