Workshop held to assist jobless Cleary Park youth, tackle social ills
In an attempt to curb gangsterism, drug abuse and unemployment among Cleary Park youth, 80 youngsters were invited to attend an empowerment workshop on Wednesday at the United Congregational Church in Salt Lake.
Speakers from the departments of social and economic development and various organisations delivered presentations on programmes on offer to assist the youth in establishing their own non-profit organisations (NPOs) and co-operatives.
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality was the driving force behind the initiative — aimed at creating sustainable self-employment opportunities in light of rising youth unemployment — community development facilitator Mzwakhe Sibantu said.
“The biggest issue in the area is unemployment because it is a major contributing factor to gangsterism, drug abuse and domestic violence,” Sibantu said.
“We’ve brought speakers from agriculture, economic development and anti-drug abuse organisations so they can share information about the services they offer to the youth and so they can have sufficient knowledge to choose what it is they want for their future.”
He said he had conducted research on challenges faced by the youth in Ward 22.
He said the workshop was a pilot project, and part of its goal was to encourage the youth to get involved in already existing NPOs in the community.
A department of human settlements’ social development, education and administration sub-directorate representative, Noxolo Gosani, said their focus was on educating communities on housing-related issues, as well as social ills faced by community members.
She said some of the main challenges faced by the Cleary Park community were the housing backlog, domestic abuse and crime.
“At first we used to come alone as human settlements but listening to the community members’ challenges across the metro, we saw it important that we should involve other departments so we can all work together for the betterment of our communities,” she said.
Unemployed resident Ashton Sloane, 23, said: “When I heard about the workshop from a community member, I thought to attend so I can get some guidance on what I can do or where to go to get some help with starting my own business in the IT sector.”
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