South Africa remains a dual economy with one of the highest rates of inequality in the world. These are perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion and the nature of economic growth, which is not pro-poor and does not generate a enough employment. In 2015, the richest 10% of the population held about 71% of net wealth, while the poorest 60% held 7% of net wealth. Unemployment is also a major challenge, standing at over 27% in 2019. In addition, more than one in two young people are out of work in the country.
With 7,700,000 people infected in 2018, South Africa is the country with the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. The disease is also responsible for thousands of orphans and vulnerable children.
The majority of black children – nearly 60% – live in situations of extreme poverty, characterized by malnutrition, crime, violence, and alcohol and drug abuse. In many cases, when a child faces these problems, schooling is interrupted, or school performances tend to deteriorate. As a result, many leave the education system and find themselves exposed to all kinds of abuse.
Although South Africa has recently invested in education, students’ performance levels are lower than in many countries and the quality of education remains low. Many children are struggling in school, do not attend regularly, face teacher absenteeism and recurrent problems of violence in schools.
FXB in action
FXB runs several after-school support and life and interpersonal skills development programs in slums around Johannesburg and Witbank. Many of the young people in our programs are orphans.
In addition, in the city of Nigel, the FXB Phumelela “Succeed” initiative (Phumelela is a Zulu word meaning to succeed, to prosper) aims to create an enabling environment for women and out-of-school youth to acquire the entrepreneurial skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes necessary to start and succeed in small business management.
These communities are characterized by high rates of unemployment, crime, violence, and HIV infections.