Dedicated to our young people – for more than a century
The Salesian Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children and youth at risk. For more than a century we have been providing education, shelter and emotional support for at-risk young people – a mission begun in the 19th century by Salesian order founder St. John Bosco, who made it his life’s work to support children in need. It’s a mission we are living today, adapted to the unique needs of South Africa’s 21st century young people.
South Africa’s youth is in crisis
Safeguarding and improving the lives of young people is a vital task in South Africa. In the Western Cape province where we work, 44 percent of the population are young people under the age of 25. Nearly a third of them live in poverty, with one in five suffering severe deprivation.
In addition, recent studies have shown some half a million youths and children live on the streets of South Africa – 120,000 of them in the Western Cape province alone. And the trend is accelerating.
We transform youth at risk into successful citizens
The Salesian Institute serves vulnerable children and youth at risk regardless of religion, race, gender or nationality. We give them the skills they need to stay out of danger, find good jobs and lead happy lives.
Each year we do this for the 1600 young men and women in our programmes with a custom-tailored mix of basic education, vocational training, social skills, neighborhood outreach and residential accommodation.
Providing job training and social skills for the 21st century
Our programmes include:
- Classes for children and youth who have dropped out of school or who do not have the skills to pass their matriculation exams, including welding, woodcraft, panel-beating and arts and crafts
- Vocational classes for older youth to learn in-demand trade skills like tiling, laminated flooring, bricklaying, PC repair, computer literacy and office management
- Life skills classes to give at-risk youth self-confidence and social skills plus basic home skills like budgeting: this includes self-actualisation, self-confidence building, interview skills, communication, cultural diversity awareness, relationship building, motivation and problem solving, time management, stress management, conflict resolution, peer pressure, interview skills, gender and domestic violence sensitisation, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS awareness, goal setting, trust building and positive thinking.
- Job search and placement services
- A one-of-a-kind programme to assist youth with training and documents in order for them to find employment within the fishing industry.
We give innovative, customised support for at-risk youth
Our community outreach workers have spent years working in the townships and on the streets, developing relationships with community leaders and the young people themselves. This allows them to find those most in need and bring them into the programmes, as well as support those who are in danger of falling into real trouble.
Sometimes this is a hard sell for youth who have experienced drugs, crime, gangsterism, physical and mental abuse and domestic violence on a daily basis. Once a young man or woman decides to participate, we develop a programme to address their specific needs, working with government agencies as well as our own staff of 12 experienced teachers, facilitators and counsellors to put together a fully-rounded programme of support, education and training. Sometimes this even includes residential accommodation in our Don Bosco youth hostel; other times, our work is simply to fill gaps in education and provide a stable, safe environment for learning and growth. And when their time with us is over, we support them with resumé-writing, job counselling and placement services – for as long as they need it.
We are in it for the long haul
Our commitment to enriching the lives of South Africa’s at-risk young people is long-standing and long-term. It has to be: creating better futures for vulnerable children and youth at risk is not an overnight process. Can you help us reach our long-term goals? We hope so. Please join us on this journey to make a life changing difference to the lives of vulnerable youth who are deserving of our support and our care.