In Guguletu, a township in the outskirt of Cape Town, a group of young adults (15-25 yrs) are running their own youth initiative together with CTO’s Youth Coordinator. The name of the group is Amasoja Youth Initiative (AYI) and it is an initiative FOR youth, BY youth.
Guguletu is home to about 100 000 residents and the name means “our pride” in Xhosa. Guguletu was established in 1958 due to the overcrowding of Langa. During the Apartheid era, black South Africans were not permitted to live in the city of Cape Town, and many people were removed to Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga. In 2015, Guguletu and Nyanga were the murder capitals of South Africa, with the total of 463 murders!
Amasoja Youth Initiative
In April 2016, a group of young rough boys in Guguletu came to the attention of CTO. A friend named Samora got hold of us, and asked if we could support him and motivate the group of young boys to break their negative pattern, and instead support the community by keeping the streets safe through patrolling. These boys really wanted to better themselves and their own community, but they didn’t know how. For CTO this was the start of guidance of Amasoja Youth Initiative (AYI/Amasoja). These young people were not able to bring their goals to reality due to a lack of self esteem and a pattern of inactivity and negative behaviour, such as drugs and crime. For these boys, gangsterism played a huge role in their lives.
The objective for CTO was to train role models and to help them strengthen their own movements and initiatives. At the same time they would work towards a safer community by avoiding drugs and crime and creating a platform for other youth, and younger children, to do the same. CTO had earlier in the same year started to work with a local independent change agent named Mapanya Sogoni. He was at the time helping young drug addicts to start their own business in order to prevent them to continue drug their abuse. Today, Mapanya is the Operations Manager of CTO in South Africa. He is educated in the Lugna Gatan method through workshops with Fryshuset in Stockholm. Under the guidance of Mapanya, the Amasoja Youth Initiative became a movement working towards organisational structure and social entrepreneurship. In the meantime CTO also established its own office space, in Siseko Community Centre, and today, CTO has its own Youth Coordinator, Unathi Jacobs, who is 100% working with this youth initiative, in order for it to be sustainable and independent. The numbers have grown to 30 members and there is a varied mix of ages and gender.
A major goal for Amasoja is to register as a sustainable and independent Non Profit Organisation (NPO). CTO's Youth Coordinator (YC) will recognise trustworthy individuals who can serve in the board of Amasoja, with the aim of creating stability and consistence in leadership, fundraising and business development. The coordinator is employed by CTO, and together with the CTO management, the youth themselves and the future board, she will develop the Amasoja with its own identity.
The youth also need a coordinator to lead them in their programs. The YC are creating programs such as sport programs, weekend activities, excursions and outings, life skills education, homework programs etc. She is at the same time mentoring them so that eventually leadership and management can be taken over by the youth themselves.
WHAT WE have DONE SO FAR
Their own words in 2016: The vision of Amasoja Youth Initiative (AYI) is to create a safe environment in the community of Guguletu, without drugs and without crime.
CTO facilitated work positions for 4 youth members (two of them worked for a year and one of them is still working). The ones who are not working anymore did gain a lot of experience which they are sharing within Amasoja.
Provide support in applications for studies, jobs etc
Employment of CTO’s Youth coordinator, who will be focusing on Amasoja along with future youth initiatives that CTO might take on.
Further recruitment of youth and accomplishment of consistency within the group.
Support in event management (township cinema etc), for AYI to earn profit for the youth initiative to become self sustainable.
CTO has created a small ‘incubator’ space, where the youth (along with other interested parties) can utilize tools such as meeting space, computers, wifi, printer and other office material.
Created Amaoja’s logo.
Made a documentary of their lives, see the teaser above or in media.
Making of home visits
Provide goal and budget management
Organise kick off, team building activities and workshops
Provide education and life skills
Promote personal development, mental growth, self esteem and confidence
Increase computer skills