Accompanying young people so that they can live a dignified life

Program start 1991
Impacted population 3,500

In South Africa, FXB accompanies young people so that they can live a dignified life through after-school education and life skills development program.

Context

In South Africa, the education system faces major challenges. Persistent problems related to school quality in much of the education system limit the ability to lift poor children out of poverty.

These children often attend schools characterized by a lack of discipline, weak management and equally weak teaching. Verbal abuse by teachers is also a growing problem.

The majority of students still live in the extreme conditions of the expanding townships and the level of education varies from region to region and from school to school. Many children attending schools in the townships come from extremely vulnerable and poor families who cannot afford to pay school fees. As a result, the school receives less funding and education suffers.

Many children do not finish school 

Schooling is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 15. However, it has been noted that many children drop out of school without completing grades 11 and 12. A survey showed that the four main reasons for dropping out are: lack of family resources, the need to find a job to support families, failure at school and early pregnancies.

Despite 20 years of democratic rule, the reality is that most black children, especially in the townships, continue to receive a poor quality education – condemning them to stagnate in the lower class of South African society where poverty and unemployment are the norm. Indeed, low quality education is not sufficient to develop the capacities to eventually access good job opportunities, but rather deprives them of access to dignified employment and undermines their own self-esteem.

Our action

In 2020, FXB is simultaneously running 6 programs in these communities characterized by high rates of unemployment, crime, violence and HIV infections. Many of the young people in our programs are orphans.

Our programs aim to limit the consequences of HIV/AIDS and poverty in the lives of the young participants, to alleviate their moral distress, to enable them to better cope with daily life and to open up more serene prospects for the future.

Develop the essential psychosocial and interpersonal skills of young people

Beyond educational and nutritional support, considerable work is being undertaken in terms of developing essential psychosocial and interpersonal skills that will help our young people to become resilient adults and full members of society. Topics such as sexual and reproductive health education, prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and violence, respect for self and others, citizenship, children’s rights, leadership learning and financial planning are addressed and worked on with them throughout the sessions. Our teams also help these young people to find vocational training or to enter higher education.

Our ambition is also to generate behavioural change in communities through children and young people. As a result, and to ensure the sustainability of the impact, FXB Youth Clubs made up of former participants are set up. FXB motivates them to become involved in the programs by becoming peer educators. They are also encouraged to take an active role in their communities and to help others through, for example, visits to orphanages, retirement homes, hospices or centers for the disabled.

Our work in South Africa would not be possible without the support and trust of our partners: The Alstom Foundation, the Greendale Foundation, the Madeleine Foundation, the Vajra Foundation, the J&K Wonderland Foundation and a partner who wishes to remain anonymous.

Program impact

Nearly 3,000 children and youth have attended FXB programs in South Africa.

The young people are particularly creative and active, and in addition to having hosted a weekly radio show for several years, they have collected their stories and poems in two collections entitled “Irisdescent Reflections” and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” respectively.

Testimonial

The love of reading grew so much in me that I began to do my homework well, make better grades, improve my writing and comprehension skills, especially in English.

Bafana Mpungose, 13