Since Afrika Tikkun was established in 1994, the NPO has stepped up to help heal a nation struggling with a devastating legacy of inequality by nurturing young lives “from cradle to career”. Partnering with multiple companies in the private sector, the organisation aims to provide vulnerable township children and youth with the basic rights they have been denied – sound nutrition, quality education and healthcare as well as mentorship, advanced schooling facilities, clean and healthy living environments and career opportunities.
In a country where poor education statistics as well as high rates of poverty, food insecurity and unemployment are derailing our youth, Afrika Tikkun is doing vital work in ensuring transformative development. Enabling disadvantaged children to reach their potential and empowering them for successful placement in tertiary learning institutions or careers is the NPO’s primary goal.
Youth development is therefore central to Afrika Tikkun’s service, which has been designed to address child poverty and youth unemployment with a “cradle-to-career” approach. Through a set of focused programmes, this covers a range of childhood and young adult needs:
- An early child development programme which prepares under-sevens for primary school has reached 30 414 children;
- The child youth development programme highlighting sports, arts and culture, life skills, learning and homework to improve Matric pass rates and prepare young people for a career has reached 73 326;
- The career development programme has assisted 12 668 young people; and
- The work placement programme has assisted 4 496 candidates.
In addition, Afrika Tikkun’s “360°” social support initiatives have reached 78 369 people, 500 000 primary healthcare services have been provided, 71 000 food parcels have been donated and 21,2 million meals have been served to people in need.
Afrika Tikkun’s urban “agripreneurship” incubation programme offers disadvantaged communities multiple benefits, from improved incomes and increased access to nutritious fresh produce, to the possibility of launching an agribusiness. At present, the programme is running at Diepsloot and Orange Farm. Other community centres run by Afrika Tikkun are in Gauteng (Alexandra, Braampark, Diepsloot and Orange Farm) and Mfuleni, Western Cape, while the skills training centre is based in Gauteng. Afrika Tikkun is also collaborating with strategic partners in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.
Living by a kindness code and with an appreciation for the importance of the family structure, Afrika Tikkun’s team of 300 facilitators understand the issues of the communities where they work. Every day, they engage with hundreds of children and young people, making significant, life-changing impacts.
The Afrika Tikkun beneficiaries’ stories provide a glimpse of how deeply their lives have been touched. One youth from Orange Farm was distressed about the “loving, hard-working, skilful, educated and business-minded people who are not granted opportunities because of our environment. There is little development in our community and Afrika Tikkun has been the most significant instrument in empowering young people with critical skills needed to prepare us for the workplace.
“Looking back at the past few months before getting this opportunity at Afrika Tikkun, life had less meaning as every day was a repetition of the somethings you do every day. This opportunity has given me purpose and the courage to look forward to a new day and has also ignited the hope I have in a better future for myself.
“I know that the decision of coming to Afrika Tikkun to achieve my goals has been one of the best choices I have made this year. I know this decision will benefit me and my family in the long run… I will leave this centre inspired, ready to work and with economic empowerment.”