Afrika Tikkun’s Cradle to Career Model – the complete package
Pictured: Xolani Sampies, library head at Arekopaneng Centre in Orange Farm.
Billions are being spent by both corporates and private individuals to find solutions, he says. “Yet we are not creating enough jobs to employ young school leavers”. Lubner added that there are 150 000 nonprofit organisations whose aims are essentially the same.
“Our role at Afrika Tikkun is to infuse support and evolve competency so as to uplift our children. Our model seeks to address what is required for a child to be productive.”
His ideas were showcased at the Arekopaneng Centre in Orange Farm south of Johannesburg last week as part of Youth Day celebrations. The Cradle to Career model offers a holistic set of educational skills development, and health and social services designed to propel young people toward opportunities that enable them to access the economy.
It starts with early childhood development programmes for two- to six-year-olds through pre-school facilities that cater for their educational and general cognitive and skills development. This programme also works with families where parents are involved in their child’s development. According to Lubner: “If there is no social infrastructure, children are open to abuse.”
He acknowledges that many township schools are of poor quality, but in the meantime, pending when government implements measures to improve the quality of education in those schools, Afrika Tikkun will continue to build after-school youth centres where children are provided with programmes that seek to support their education, leadership and life skills, career and sports and recreational development.
These centres, which also seek to ensure the nutrition and food security of targeted beneficiaries, operate on weekends too.
Lubner believes Afrika Tikkun has created a platform to make South Africa a different place. Government, he says, “has come to the party” and is the biggest stakeholder.
Afrika Tikkun’s head of development and marketing, Onyi Nwaneri, says the focus is on the urgent need for poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of young people. Career development and design must match the jobs that are available and being sought by the learners, she says.
To this end, Afrika Tikkun develops work readiness skills and places young adults in work opportunities. This means there is a full life cycle intervention with real impact.
The model,she adds, is responsive to the particular set of circumstances young people in the township face. “Our integrated approach constantly questions whether what Afrika Tikkun does is aimed at achieving the goal of economic freedom for young people.”
Errol Pillay, CEO of Afrika Tikkun Services, a sister company which focuses on specific skills development and placement, outlined how sustainable solutions work around transformation.
Although 40 per cent of youth are unemployed, “our youth remains our biggest asset. South Africa and Africa’s biggest economic advantage is our young population who if properly skilled and well positioned could be a great economic leverage.”
By offering appropriate training skills, more than 2 000 young people have already been skilled through this process and over 40 per cent of them have been placed in various employment/self-employment opportunities.
Vanessa Mentor, a subject matter expert at the early childhood centre – one of five run by Tikkun Afrika in South Africa – stressed the importance of investing in the development of children at the crucial ages of birth to six years. School readiness is an important feature of Afrika Tikkun’s Cradle to Career model.
Xolani Sampies who implements the child and youth development programme targeted at school-going children aged seven to 18 years at Arekopaneng, described how children in this age group use the facilities after school to get support programmes and extra lessons that aid their development.
A very interesting aspect of Afrika Tikkun’s programmes is the focus on the child/youth in the context of family. They therefore run programmes that focus on family empowerment especially in the context of gender and disability related issues.
There are currently five Afrika Tikkun Centres of Excellence in Diepsloot, Alexandra, Braampark, Orange Farm and Mfuleni in the Eastern Cape.
In 2015 Afrika Tikkun’s services reached over 20 000 direct beneficiaries and 100 000 indirect beneficiaries. Afrika Tikkun currently employs around 560 permanent staff.