About Us

The challenge


Young people in underprivileged 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. In 2016, in one of the communities we support, more learners died in violent incidents than through accidents or disease and over 3,000 girls were reported to have dropped out of school due to teen pregnancies. High youth unemployment means that even university graduates are left to roam the streets alongside unemployed school leavers. 

Low educational achievement and poor job prospects contribute in turn to South Africa’s high crime rate. The number of young people who are neither in school nor employment is increasing each year. 

Against this background, we believe that young people who have passed grade 12 but remain impoverished and unemployed can be trained and motivated to become a community resource. We also believe that the learning and teaching environment in South African schools can be improved.


“No society can long sustain itself unless its members have learned the sensitivities, motivations, and skills involved in assisting and caring for other human beings.” — ~Bronfenbrenner 

How we began

YOSA was founded in 2015 out of collaborative effort between Astonishment Mapurisa and the Methodist Church of Southern Africa to tackle the challenges hindering many young South Africans from completing their education and taking their place as productive members of society. YOSA represents a shift from traditional models that view young people as liabilities, to employing a Positive Youth Development approach to capture their talents and abilities and help them achieve their potential. YOSA after-school activities inspire youth for:

1. Academic success

2. Arts and recreation

3. Community involvement

4. Cultural competency

5. Life skills

6. Positive life choices

7. Positive core values and 

8. Positive sense of self.

Growing up in extremely difficulty circumstances was Astonishment's inspiration to help disadvantaged young people in South Africa to rise above the problems they face and make a positive contribution to their community. The Anglo American Chairman's Fund is credited for funding Astonishment's training in Social Entrepreneurship that resulted in this project. His long-established networks with the Methodist Church (local and International) and Qantas Airline crew provided further inspiration and funding; while Silica has become the major YOSA project roll out partner.   


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