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FoodForward SA Supports Skills Development Centres that Empower SA’s Youth

FoodForward SA strategically supports beneficiary organisations (BOs) that create meaningful employment opportunities for vulnerable or at-risk youth. Sixty-five of our 1,090 BOs (6%) are skills development organisations, through which we reach approximately 74,000 beneficiaries daily.

The Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre, in Gqeberha, is one of our newest BOs and joined our BO network in January 2021. The Centre empowers young people with the knowledge and skills they need to obtain jobs or to become successful entrepreneurs. Their primary focus is to reduce poverty and unemployment experienced by people aged 18 – 25, by offering a variety of SETA-accredited entrepreneurial training programmes. These include, among others, training programmes that focus on hospitality, baking, meat cutting, woodwork and upholstery, beauty, early childhood development, needlework and crafts as well as homebased caregiving. In addition to their vocation programme, the Centre enrols all students onto their VUKUZENSELE Empower Yourself personal development programme.

Not only does the food FoodForward SA provide for meals encourage participants to start and complete their training but it also forms a critical part of some of the programmes. Students who participate in the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre’s use the food during their practical training sessions and then serve their hard work as meals to their fellow students.

“Our partnership with FoodForward SA has had a positive impact on our Centre. Because of the surplus food we receive, we have incorporated an additional component to our Hospitality NQF4 Professional Cookery Programme that gives participating students the opportunity to use the donated food to prepare daily lunches for all students at the Centre. In this way, the increased variety of food items has enabled us to provide varied and nutritional meals which significantly impacts our students’ well-being,” says Gemma Ebersohn, Centre Manager at the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre.

According to the Social Return of Investment (SROI) impact study that Impact Amplifier conducted on our foodbanking model in 2020, 81% of our BOs reported that attendance of their ‘non-feeding’ programmes would be affected if FoodForward SA did not provide them with food.

Our foodbanking model serves as a catalyst for sustainable development and we are grateful for our partnerships with skills development centres and food supply chain role players that help us advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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