Esther Retreat: Computer literacy training programs for disadvantaged young women

South Africa – The Esther Retreat was founded in April 2009 by Masentle Mokhele, a young social entrepreneur.  The organization focuses on skills development for previously disadvantaged young women who are currently in high school, tertiary and unemployed young women. Training courses in interview preparation, self–discovery and purpose,  entrepreneurship in tourism and computer literacy.

A 2010 GPA grant in the amount of $ 4771 allowed the organization to begin and train over 100 disadvantaged girls in Pretoria and Soweto South Africa to become computer literate at no cost to them.  At the conclusion of the grant period the organization had purchased 20 computers, conducted countless training courses for young girls in Soweto and Kliptown and supported instruction at two local schools.

Ekupholeni: Emotionally challenged youth participate in transitional and skill building programs

South Africa – Ekupholeni is a non-profit organization in Katorus, South Africa that provides mental health services to their community.  Their programs focus on psychosocial impact of violence, trauma, abuse and the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.  Ekupholeni utilizes mental health development programs addressing youth at risk, gender violence and HIV/AIDS and bereavement to provide holistic mental health care to the community.  A cross cutting income generation project supports sustainable livelihoods of clients in the various programs on a needs basis.

Recently, Ekupholeni launched a Kick-Start Program for the teenagers and young adults that have been emotionally and psychologically stabilized through the  psychological intervention groups to move into a bridging program that affords them the opportunity for skills training, apprenticeship, further studies or micro-business depending on their abilities.  Kick-Start is a “transitional” program that assists participants to become re-integrated into their communities with not only psychological but also material and economic resources.  Such further intervention is necessary to break the long-term cycles of poverty and deprivation and the associated helplessness by empowering/transforming our youth to become as self-sufficient and productive as is possible.

Grants

  • September, 2008 – $5,000 for establishment of the Kick-Start Program.  GPA is very interested in the holistic approach to youth development Ekupholeni takes in the community where they are working.  Few organizations use mental health and transition programs to serve youth and mentor them through a critical time in their lives.