A two-day youth consultation workshop was coordinated by the UN South Africa to discuss the challenges, gaps, and recommendations towards the National Development Plan (NDP) 7 pillars from the youth perspective. Robust and constructive conversations took place whereby exploring different channels that the youth of SA could use to work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda. However, a recommendation was that the young people should embrace the ‘NOTHING FOR US, WITHOUT US” mantra meaning that youth need to participate in decision-making platforms and ensuring having youth in strategic UN positions to drive the youth agenda forward.

The Pietermaritzburg Agency Community Social Action (PACSA), working within uMgungundlovu Municipality has launched its new Youth programme, called the Youth Street Survivors program.

The launch event was held on the 20th of June 2019, at the Mandela Park in the east of the Pietermaritzburg CBD. “I am happy with this level of attendance .The main intention is not to have the initiative only to be the initiative of June month, but everything we will be doing in all activities we must be able to say next year this time, here is a street survivor who has been able to make it to the mainstream of society and various spaces”, said Nqabakazi Mathe the PACSA Director YSS launch.

PACSA created a safe space where the youth living on the street can meet and share the ideas on problems facing them. The organisation has dedicated their efforts towards the information dissemination among the youth, towards the creation of platforms for networking.

“Nothing about us without us”, during the launch the streets survivors shared their stories, citing their daily struggles and their wishes for the future. “We are misunderstood, not all of us are pick-pocketing around the streets, and some of us are earning a living by helping carry groceries to the taxi ranks, wash cars, and fetch water for the taxi drivers. In the streets we are the victims of brutal violence if someone lost anything they come beat us up, without any clarity of whether was it me or whoever, we bear the blame that we are often not responsible for. Sometimes they burn our blankets” Nhlakanipho the YSS sharing his story at the launch. Some of them were looking for ways to stop using drugs, to which they are now addicted to.

(YSS playing soccer and netball with members of PACSA’s community partners/groups)

During the launch soccer, netball, teambuilding and board games were played by the community representatives, together with the YSS; the aim was to create mutual beneficial relations amongst the community and the youth street survivors. The YSS appreciated the initiative, to be able to get the rare opportunity to just have fun. They expressed that they were happy to take part in all the activities of the day. At the end of the launch, they were given clothes, blankets that had been donated by various organizations, businesses, individuals and by the Department of Sport and recreation.

PACSA have highlighted that these young people are a manifestation of the socio-economic problems that they experienced together with their families in the communities that has led to their marginalization. They are defenseless victims of brutal violence, sexual exploitation and sex tourism, abject neglect, chemical addiction, human trafficking and human rights violations. PACSA believes that urgent interventions are needed to reintegrate them with their communities and families.

Youth in the streets face a systematic discrimination and are at higher risk of being harmed and are denied a voice. Advocacy is at the hearts of our mission to build a world that protects and respects the youth who are at risk. We seek to journey with them, so that they may be able to advocate for themselves and to make sure they are listened to.

By PACSA Team

Donated blankets



Attendees of the YSS launch

 

It was a decision from the first Solidarity Hub to create a platform for activists and community members to tell their stories of struggle without filter. ACT Ubumbano created an App and Website that carries these stories, and hopefully amplifies the voice of those who experience the brunt of injustice and exploitation. The Ubumbano Voice App is freely available for download, and the website is www.ubumbanovoice.com.

This platform has attracted the interest of the Dobsonville Advice Office in Soweto and its partners, and they have convened an initial training session to get their network members to participate in getting the word out. From the training they have already collected a range of stories that can be accessed by clicking here.

In Durban, the Phephisa movement of survivors of gender-based violence convened a training session that generated great eagerness to use the platform not just for telling stories, but for advocacy as well.

If any community – geographic or otherwise – is interested in using this platform in their work, please get in touch with the office at ashley@actubumbano.org.

This partnership stems from the fact that this disaster will require the highest level of mobilisation possible.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC), Red Cross South Africa, Hope Worldwide, and other civil society partners have been involved in consolidated and urgent relief efforts to help survivors of cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

Red Cross South Africa CEO Lindel Papiyah said ahead of a planned media briefing: “We are partnering with the churches because this is a disaster that will require the highest level of mobilisation possible, and churches have that footprint and goodwill.”

Cyclone Idai has wreaked havoc on Beira and surrounding areas of Mozambique, resulting in loss of communication, damage, and destruction to shelter and settlements, health and water/sanitation facilities and thousands of hectares of standing crops, communication infrastructure, with loss of life and injury.

SACC’s Bishop Mpumlwana said: “We know that many more people will die from disease resulting from this tragedy, far more than those lives taken by the cyclone itself. Human lives will need to recalibrate in the new reality, including dealing with hundreds of children orphaned in this disaster.

“This is an urgent but long term joint effort by us as churches and civil society to help our neighbours that will require consistency of commitment.”

Deloitte has joined the partnership, bringing in pro bono audit support to the fund that is being launched.

Deloitte CEO, Lwazi Bam said: “We have been looking for civil society partners to respond to this disaster, and are happy to have the partnership with the SACC and faith-based organisations. We shall be calling on all our associates to participate in this noble endeavour.”

– African News Agency