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67 young people take action against poverty by getting work-ready

Categories: COMPANY NEWS , Social & Community
In celebration of what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, with the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and Better SA partnership.

The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and Better SA partnership hosted an innovative, collaborative volunteer event to help combat youth unemployment.  Going beyond the traditional 67 minutes of volunteerism, the event, which took place on Saturday, 14 July, gathered 72 volunteers to help youths from local youth development organisations to change their stars.

It was an opportunity for MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cardholders, staff and non-profit partners to participate in a different kind of volunteer experience.  In line with the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s theme ‘be the legacy’, the project highlighted there’s far more that South Africans can contribute through volunteerism than just their ‘sweat equity’.  In the fight against poverty your skills, life experience and abilities to coach and mentor can make a significant difference, especially when it comes to preparing the youth for the world of work.

The 67 beneficiaries of the volunteer experience came from local youth programmes Ikamva Youth, YES Youth Employment Service, Refilwe Community Project and the Emdeni Youth Programme, and were transported to Wanderers through the BetterSA minibus system.  There they encountered the volunteers manning three different stations, and over a three-hour process they took vital steps to becoming work ready. 

Firstly, their handwritten CVs were transformed into professional, typed profiles, and they learnt the importance of organising and presenting their information for optimum impact.  Next, they went through role-modelling interviews with intensive coaching that helped to prepare them for the rigours of job interviews, build their confidence and help them prepare for a successful interview.  To cap their work-ready experience, the third station was wardrobe-fitting.  Volunteers helped them get fitted with a quality collared shirt and pants or skirt provided by Clothing Bank, plus a jacket and a tie, while sharing advice on the importance of a professional appearance.

“Many young South Africans struggle to get into the job market,” says Helene Brand, MySchool’s CSI Manager, “This is not because they don’t have the education or the aptitude to do the job, but rather they lack the resources they need to get noticed, secure an interview and present themselves effectively. A professional CV, coupled with some work experience and a recommendation letter improves a young person’s chances of entering the work environment. This year’s celebration of Mandela’s centenary was a particularly heart-warming volunteer experience, where those with work experience and a desire to help the youth came together to help these 67 promising young people to at least get up on that first rung of the ladder.”

In the interests of leaving a sustainable legacy like Mandela, the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme and its partner organisations will now work to connect the 2018 Mandela Day beneficiaries with organisations that can help to facilitate their first forays into the job market.

Those interested in other meaningful volunteer experiences, can visit www.bettersa.org to find out about signing up for Saturday morning events in Cape Town and Johannesburg.  BetterSA organises a range of volunteer activities and operates a Hop on Hop off minibus service for entirely hassle-free, enriching volunteer experiences.

Mandela Day with its #actionagainstpoverty tag aims to inspire sustained citizen action and to get all South Africans playing their part in building a better country for all on an ongoing basis.   The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme enables customers to raise funds for the causes they care about most every time they shop.  Go to http://www.myschool.co.za/ to apply for your free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, and select up to three beneficiary organisations.  Every time you swipe your card at Woolworths, Engen, Waltons, Garden Shop, Loot.co.za or any other partner store, the participating retailers will donate a percentage of your purchase value, on your behalf, to the beneficiaries you have chosen to support – all at absolutely no cost to you!

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