Youth Opportunities South Africa is a youth development organization with a twofold aim – firstly, to empower young school leavers by developing their work readiness skills and opening opportunities in the world of work; secondly, to improve the educational outcomes for children still in school through mentoring and coaching provided by those same school leavers. Underlying all our work is the belief that young people can be coached and nurtured to transform their lives and become agents of change in their own communities.
YOSA views young people as resourceful and resilient. We’re driven by the belief that all people can be helped to take control and change their situation.
Young people in poor townships and rural schools face significant barriers to learning. Substance abuse, bullying, gangsterism, violence and high dropout rates worsened by teen pregnancies all contribute to a general lack of motivation to achieve.
YOSA works in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand to bring social work and psychology services to underprivileged communities. Thus, we work in township communities providing after-school, weekend and holiday education support services. We subscribe to youth character building as the foundation for positive education and training for young people.
Despite the manifold problems often seen during adolescence that include, substance abuse, unsafe sex and pregnancy, school failure and dropping out, crime and delinquency, depression and self-destructive behaviours, we avoid labelling. We empower adolescents and families to help themselves playing partner rather than expert roles. We facilitate rather than fix; point to health rather than dysfunction; turn away from limiting labels and diagnosis to wholeness and well-being.
Through deliberate community partnerships, YOSA inspires winning mind-sets among learners, educators and parents/guardians. Our activities and lessons are designed to help learners to grow and exhibit their talents. Educators and parents are helped to get to know young people for their sparks (deep interests and talents), strengths, struggles and supports.