Young people to give back to their communities

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joblessness, illiteracy, lack of skills, poverty and lack of access to water and electricity: These are just some of the grim realities facing young rural people today. 

But there may just be a ray of hope in the form of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) which is a skills development programme aimed at the rural youth and is expected to create an estimated 10 000 jobs. Nthambeleni Gabara takes a look at this programme. 

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform introduced the programme in 2010 with the aim of providing unemployed youth in the rural areas with opportunities to work in their communities and to be trained to provide the necessary services for local socio-economic development. 

The NARYSEC targets youth from rural areas, including those living with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 35 and who have at least passed Grade 10. The NARYSEC is a two-year programme aimed at empowering rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country.

About 500 candidates, who underwent an intensive seven week training programme [the first phase of the programme], were selected by the department of Defence and Military Veterans at the Brug Military Base in the Free State. 

For 28-year-old Roseline Moakamela from Kungwini Municipality in Gauteng, the programme has given her an opportunity to be a part of something bigger. A chance to make a difference in her community 

"Since I started with the training, I no longer feel hopeless and with the monthly stipend we are receiving, I can see that good things are still coming. 

"I'm now patriotic about my country and I can't wait to receive those skills to construct roads and houses in order to make a difference in my community," she says. 

Recently, 500 candidates graduated from the programme and Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti says he looks forward to it expanding in an effort to help young people find their potential. 

According to Nkwinti, the programme will complement his department's job creation model, which targets and ensures that at least one person per household in the rural areas, where the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) is being piloted, gets employed for two years. 

The Minister says the job creation and skills development programme was initiated in line with the department's rural development mandate to create vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities throughout South Africa.

"This programme will equip the youth with both theoretical and practical knowledge to create employment for themselves and other people in their communities. We look forward to expanding this programme even further to more NARYSEC participants in more military facilities

"Candidates who have completed their two-year training will be able to help develop their own communities and this, at the end of the day will lead to the future development of our country." 

For Justice Mookudi, 34, from Morukweni in Matlhabatlhaba village in the North West, the training was valuable. "Through this training I've learnt not to give up in life, now, I am looking forward to receiving intensive training so that I can bring development in my area."

"I can't wait to be an entrepreneur at my settlement and I am not going to be selfish as I will work together with other young people to bring about changes in our area," says 25-year-old Brian Morgan Kriel from Vreedendaal in the Western Cape.
Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi of the Defence and Military Veterans says the young people did not undergo military training, but were only exposed to military discipline.

"We've trained them in values, respect, leadership and negotiations skills. We also taught them about their country as well as the African continent. 

"With all those acquired skills we believe when they return to their villages, other people will notice a difference and we believe that they will begin to revive hope in their friends," he explains. 

For now, the young men and women have been given some time off their grueling schedule so that they can visit their families and when they return on March 28, they will learn new skills and learn lifelong lessons about their value and power in society.