During the past year RLabs partnered with the Western Cape Department of Social Development as we launched 2 Youth Cafes with a goal to create an environment where young people can access opportunities and skills as well as contribute positively to their local communities. The Youth Cafes registered 1,815 young people who accessed a number of opportunities and programmes. Today another milestone was achieved as the 2 Youth Cafes passed 20,000 visits and had more than 20,000 training seats filled at the cafes.
The Youth Cafes have also been very popular with the young people and below is what some of them had to say about it:
“When I first walked into the Youth Café, I was scared with mixed emotions. The environment was so different to what I expected. They were so friendly and different as if I was in a time zone. I felt like crying but had to hold my tears back. I told myself that this is my chance in life God gave me because I’ve cried for help for months, being depressed and all. I’ve learned to be confident and believe in myself. I also learnt how to open up and just be myself and one thing I must say is the Youth Café’s coffee is the best, ever! I was shy at the beginning to speak to the staff because I’m not used to people being nice to me . I enjoy all sessions and classes.” – Kauthar Birch
“Youth cafe’ Rocklands is such an awesome place to be.I encourage all the youngsters,if u didn’t pop in or experienced it…u must go make a turn there. I promise u won’t regret it.” – Leilani Adriaanse
Achieving the above milestones we decided to take a closer look at the social and economic impact of the Youth Cafes during the past year:
- The Youth Cafes have served more than 250,000 meals/snacks/drinks
- Youth signed up at the Youth Cafes have worked more than 50,000 community hours at schools, NGOs etc. serving more than 45,000 beneficiaries.
- The total value of community work performed by the youth from the Youth Cafes have exceeded R1.25 million (US$125,000)
- 534 youth have found jobs and economic opportunities as a result of the support from the Youth Cafes.
- The economic benefit created for these employed youth are R1,121,400 (US$110,000) per month. It is estimated that the economic value created directly by the youth will be more than R15 million (US$1.5 million) for 2015.
- The economic benefit to government through employed youth and public savings (of social grants, unemployment) and/or taxes has been more than R3.4million (US$340,000)
- More than 1,100 certificates were issued through the Youth Cafes and its partners.
- More than R3,8 million (US$380,000) worth of scholarships were made available to youth at the Youth Cafes.
The above impact and endorsements by some of our young people clearly shows why we believe in the importance of the Youth Cafes (See video from 13m34s onwards by Al Jazeera celebrating the cafes) and we are thankful to the Western Cape Department of Social Development and all our partners for their ongoing support. We also very proud of our amazing team working at the Youth Cafes and making HOPE contagious.