We target young people aged 16 to 18 because they are on the threshold of adulthood and for many disadvantaged young people this is the time when they may not get the support, encouragement or advice that will help them to go on to, or even consider, university or professional careers. They may come from a family where no one has previously been to university, may not know people who have a professional career, may lack knowledge and confidence about how to write a CV or a university application and they may be interested in the environment but not know how to develop this into a career.
We are interested in supporting young people who lack adult support and interest in their future – for some young people their family cannot provide that extra push to help them aspire and excel often because the family is struggling with financial problems, or difficulties such as domestic violence, substance misuse, or mental and physical health problems. The young people we work with often experience a ‘poverty of aspiration’ and lack confidence or belief in themselves. They don’t necessarily turn away from opportunity – they often don’t know what opportunities exist within their reach or think it is not possible for them.
Evidence of Need
clouddog targets Johannesburg areas with high levels of deprivation and what the country now terms “previously disadvantaged” communities – Eldorado Park, Alexandra, Lenasia, Elspark, Daveyton and Soweto – and have built partnerships with schools in these boroughs. By targeting specific boroughs we can focus our work within economically deprived areas.
Despite having been a democratic country since April 1994, South Africa is still living with the legacy of apartheid, indicated by the following statistics:
- 65% of South Africans live on less than R550 a month (£50 equivalent)
- 2% are desperately poor, struggling to survive on R150 a month
- One in five children shows signs of malnutrition
- The richest 10% of South Africans earn more than the other 90% combined
- The unemployment rate for black South Africans under 30 is over 50%
- Two-thirds of 15-to-30 year olds who seek employment have never been able to find a job
In Guateng Province where clouddog predominantly works, nearly 70% of youth between 15 -24yrs of age, live in low-income households. Youths aged 15-24 years are reported to experience hunger far above the national average of the population and stood at a high of 26.6% in 2009. Whilst there has been a slight improvement in the number of youth living in formal dwellings in the recent past, the percentage of youth still living in informal dwellings is very high (12.1%)*
We work with young people who may not be considering further education or professional employment prospects. The country is sitting with about 2.8 million young people between the ages of 19 and 24 years who are neither employed nor in education. Most of these young people do not have the necessary skills to access employment or to be involved in sustainable entrepreneurship. *
Of the total unemployed in the country, over 70% are youth between the ages 15 and 35 years. These figures are based on the narrow definition of unemployment, which excludes those people who have given up looking for a job. The surveys have also indicated that the highest age cohort of the unemployed are those aged 15-24 years, at just over 50%, The same age cohort has the highest proportion of people who have given up looking for a job. Inevitably this means that young people are getting despondent and they give up looking for jobs at their prime productive lives.
About a fifth of unemployed young people believe that they will never find a job.
Research tells us that young people experiencing disadvantages such as poverty, living in workless households and dependent on benefits, and with little adult support at home are more likely to under achieve academically. We believe it is also likely that they will have no experience or knowledge of life choices such as going to university and no access to adult support outside of hard pressed schools to encourage them. Employers say that they value skills such as self-management and problem solving yet young people rarely get the practice to develop such skills.
We want to break cycles of deprivation so that a young person’s background does not dictate their future.