About Us



Our mission is to provide for the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of youth at risk through the provision of education, counselling, recreation, and training, in a professional, caring, and secure environment. We honour Don Bosco’s calling to serve the youth and to build hope, open hearts and transform minds – creating a mission that today represents one of the biggest youth development programmes in the world.” – Salesian Institute Youth Projects Board & Management


Dedicated to our young people – for more than a century

The Salesian Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children and youth at risk. For more than a century we have been providing education, shelter and emotional support for at-risk young people – a mission begun in the 19th century by Salesian order founder St. John Bosco, who made it his life’s work to support children in need. It’s a mission we are living today, adapted to the unique needs of South Africa’s 21st century young people.

South Africa’s youth is in crisis

Safeguarding and improving the lives of young people is a vital task in South Africa. In the Western Cape province where we work, 44 percent of the population are young people under the age of 25. Nearly a third of them live in poverty, with one in five suffering severe deprivation. In addition, recent studies have shown some half a million youths and children live on the streets of South Africa – 120,000 of them in the Western Cape province alone. And the trend is accelerating.

Here in South Africa, supporting the youth is a national imperative, as President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently reminded us, noting that the more than 50% unemployment rate among young South Africans is a national crisis that demands “urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions”.

We transform youth at risk into successful citizens

The Salesian Institute serves vulnerable children and youth at risk regardless of religion, race, gender or nationality. We give them the skills they need to stay out of danger, find good jobs and lead happy lives. Each year we do this for the many young men and women in our programmes with a custom-tailored mix of basic education, vocational training, social skills, and neighbourhood outreach.

Mandela Day Collaborations

This is to express our immense gratitude for your role in the Salesian Institute Youth Projects Mandela Day event on July 18.

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Marking its 10th year of success, the Waves of Change Programme celebrates a decade of achievements.

Introducing Lluwellyn, a 34-year-old man who was once homeless and unemployed, living on the streets of Cape Town.

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It was a proud occasion when the Stitch Ahead Programme’s first intake, one of 4 skills development programmes at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP), hosted a small fashion show and certificate handover event on Friday 25 November 2022.

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Practical Literacy Programme For Learners with Special Learning Needs

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects Learn to Live School of Skills, introduced the Learn to Live Legacy Project into the school in late 2021.

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Fr Patrick Naughton - Passing of a Legend

Fr Pat (81), who stepped down as the CEO late last year, sadly died on Wednesday 23 March 2022. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January this year. Fr Pat served the young people of South Africa for more than 60 years.

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Upgraded Woodcraft Centre for Learn to Live School of Skills

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects has experienced both highs and lows during the past few months, opting to embrace it all. We are happy to report that our programmes are performing well.

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Take action, inspire change, and make every day a Mandela Day

Communities across the world are affected by the spread of Covid-19, which has hit every economy, causing new social and economic challenges and exacerbating old ones.

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Salesian Institute Youth Projects 2021 Reaching for Success

We start 2021 with great enthusiasm. The Learn to Live School is now fully engaged in Project-based learning (PBL) as the foundation of our teaching methodology.

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Salesian Institute Youth Projects October News Update

Entering the final quarter of 2021 seems almost surreal as the year flew by at such a speed.

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Christmas with Kindness

The holiday season is a time when many of us think about how we can give something back. Today, we’re kicking off our Christmas with Kindness Campaign to encourage people to give however they can towards skills development for at-risk youth in CT.

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There are four main projects for youth at risk in the Greater Cape Town area. The projects are managed by a committed and competent Board of Directors, Management Committee and staff consisting of Salesians who live on the premises and professionals from the corporate and education sectors.





A future for children and youth at risk

The school caters for learners aged 14 to 18 from at-risk backgrounds.

The Learn to Live School offers an integrated approach for youth, who due to their socio-economic circumstances, cannot gain access to, or cope with mainstream schooling. Learn to Live School of Skills follows Project-Based Learning (PBL) the primary teaching and learning methodology. This teaching methodology allows the school to cater more effectively to the needs of our learners, as it aligns well with the expectation of the workplace. PBL is an instructional approach designed to allow students to develop knowledge and skills through engaging projects set around challenges and problems they may face in the real world. PBL motivates students to connect with content areas whilst increasing their knowledge of a topic. It is a way to engage and give them responsibility for their learning.

The Learn to Live Programme is very much vocationally driven – our vision is to prepare and equip learners to function in the workplace and when they cannot be immediately placed in a job, our learners should have the confidence and skills to create their own jobs and future.

LIFESKILLS forms an integral part of our learning programme.

The learner's work consists of individual presentations and group work which is assessed continuously throughout the year and the learners will, during the course of the year, collect and put all evidence of their learning into a Portfolio of Evidence which is also assessed.

The number of learners per class is 26 to 36 learners, and our workshops cater for 14 to 20 students per workshop lesson.
All the learners form part of a Literacy Programme which ensures that they can manage a certain level of literacy, which is a crucial requirement in the workplace. This is an Intervention Project within the Learn to Live Programme that significantly improves the Learner's reading difficulties, resulting in the student being able to read independently and with comprehension, free from anxiety and better prepared for a successful transition into independent adulthood.                

The Learn to Live School is a 4-year programme. Our Learn-to-Live graduates either continue with learnerships, find jobs, start their small businesses or join one of our other Programmes.

The current vocational workshops on offer are:

1.         Hospitality
2.         Hairdressing
3.         Electrical
4.         Woodwork & Timber

CHILD PROTECTION is a priority, and a strict child protection policy is adhered to and followed by all staff and volunteers at the institute.



propelling youth into the automotive elite
The Porsche Programme is currently being revised.  An updated new Porsche Programme will be shared in early 2023. 




facilitating training for the maritime industry

Sea fishing is a large industry in South Africa, especially along the Western Cape coastline. The Salesian Institute Youth Projects realised the need for youth with low levels of education to be gainfully employed to contribute to the financial needs of their families and communities. The Cape Town harbour is on our doorstep, with a result we partnered with large sea fishing companies in the sector as well as various training Institutions that have accreditation and approved by SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority)  providers in the sector to train young men and women ages 18 to 35 from disadvantaged backgrounds.

All the participants complete a 10-day Lifeskills Programme and then go on to complete Safety and Familiarisation Courses, including Personal Survival Techniques, and obtain their SAMSA Medical Certificates, and (seafarer’s record book and certificates of discharge) which are requirements to become seafarers. Some of these costs are covered by the Institute if enough funding is available, alternatively, the beneficiaries must cover some of the costs. 

The maritime industry affords these youngsters a career path, something they cannot easily access in other sectors due to their low level of education & socioeconomic circumstances. The objective of the WOC project is to empower disadvantaged and unemployed youth between the ages of 18–35 years from Cape Town and surrounding areas by preparing them to find work in the maritime industry.
For those females who find the idea of working at sea daunting, due to its immense physical requirements, the Waves of Change Programme is offering a specific course to females interested in sewing:


This newly acquired programme is a 3-month course at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects, teaching females of Cape Town and surrounds who can read and write hand-sewing and machine-sewing techniques. The course starts with two weeks Lifeskills course, followed by a three months sewing course that will enable participants to sew basic garments for their use or to generate income through a home-based business.




21st Century training for the 21st century needs
NEET is the term in use for youth ages 18 to 26 not in employment, education, or training.
SIYP aims to provide a critical service to NEETs through an intervention strategy combining Lifeskills Training with Vocational Skill Training, packaged in an innovative approach to student-centred education through a project-based learning methodology. NEETs youth are empowered through re-engagement with learning, the development of entrepreneurial skills, and exposure to workplace experiences.

The NEETs programme offers education in innovative and engaging pedagogy. In line with Learn to Live’s Project-based-learning approach, it adopts the same platform to develop work readiness for youth at risk that have not completed their basic education.
The emphasis is on the design and facilitation of high-quality learning experiences that are relevant to learners in today’s rapidly changing technology-driven world.

The NEETS beneficiaries are recruited from specific disadvantaged communities within the greater Cape Town area to create a tipping point of social change within the beneficiaries’ communities.

This is a SAQA-accredited in-house programme with a National Certificate in New Venture Creations, via the Services SETA completed over 12 months consisting of three modules:

Module 1 - Foundation Module (30 weeks)

Learning takes place on-site at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects premises in Greenpoint, Cape Town. The first 2 weeks concentrate on orientation and Lifeskills, whereas the coverage of core academic modules is focused on preparing students for learning. As a few students have not been in training for some time, refresher modules in languages, mathematics etc. are covered, to ensure all students are on a level where they can actively participate and absorb information. Only then, the New Ventures Creation modules are worked through.

Module 2 - Internship in Social Enterprises (6 weeks)

Learning takes place within community-based projects that address key needs, engaging with social responsibility and developing their understanding of good citizenship. Project management and action learning are key outcomes of this module.
In Module 3 – Organisation Module (12 weeks)

Workplace learning takes place within a partner organisation of choice, developing organisational and work literacy skills. SIYP partners with various entrepreneur skill-driven industries: Insurance; Food & Beverage and Wholesale/Retail. Within reason, students will have the option to do their learnerships/internship in one of these industries.

Supporting the skills training and employment of these unskilled, young individuals will empower them to lead active, productive, and successful lives, thereby counteracting inequality, and elevating destitute communities out of poverty





Donating cash, Snapscan, EFT or as a Bequest (All are tax-deductible)
IN SPIRIT, your prayers are always welcome for those who struggle to make their way in life.
IN-KIND, we have an extensive wish list of items our programmes need, please refer to our website.




We rely on support and funding to provide a critical service to youth from at-risk communities in and around Cape Town.  We appeal to individuals, companies and foundations to Give Something That Means Something and invest in our youth development programmes.


  Support Our Appeal 



Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP) is a declared Public Benefit Organisation (reference number 18/11/13/2116) and was granted tax exemption status by the South African Revenue Service in terms of Section 10(1) (cN) and Section 18A(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act of 1962. SIYP is 100% B-BBEE compliant.


Standard Bank I Branch code: 020909 I Account number: 070 701 687
Account name: Salesian Institute Youth