The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) receives daily requests from young people or NGO’s seeking some form of assistance. In response to these requests we at the NYDA acknowledge that we cannot assist every young person in need. However, we have realised the importance of having a specialised fund aimed at assisting youth or youth organisations who come to us with immediate once off needs.

The Thusano Fund, with ‘Thusano’ meaning helping hand, is being launched to address the daily needs of as many young people as possible to improve not only their own lives but that of other young people and communities as a whole.

The first organisation to receive assistance from the Fund is the Soweto Association for People with Disabilities (SAPD), an NGO aimed at providing care and support to empower people with disabilities. The main function of the NGO is to equip local youth with disabilities with practical skills so that they may achieve their full potential and be integrated into mainstream society. This is however difficult with a scarcity of resources and teaching material. The Soweto Association for People with Disabilities thus approached the NYDA for provision of educational equipment such as practical learning aids and apparatus suitable for people with disabilities.

According to the NYDA Executive Chairperson, Yershen Pillay, “The Thusano Fund is an initiative which is very close to my heart and I am extremely proud to be launching it today at the SAPD. We receive many requests from organisations, youth formations and individuals who need small amounts of money to continue studying, upgrade their facilities or like this organisation, simply purchase learning material to equip young people with necessary skills to live independently and with dignity. While we cannot help everyone that approaches us, we do need to make a tangible difference in the lives of young people with the limited resources we do have.”

The NYDA has allocated R2 million to the establishment of the Thusano Fund to assist those young people or youth organisations who simply need that helping hand to go on and succeed. We may only be able to assist a few hundred or so but it’s better than not assisting at all.

Johanna Sebolai, SAPD Projector Coordinator said, “Our main goal at SAPD is to ensure that our youth are equipped with skills and knowledge so that they can function independently. They need to be able to count so that they can go to the shop on their own, purchase their own groceries, they need to be able to read and write and solve daily problems. The learning aids donated by the NYDA will tremendously improve their educational status and communications skills, especially in literacy and numeracy. They will be taught to find creative solutions to daily problems and thus be able to adapt and live in their communities as independent citizens.

Sebolai added that not all the young people that attend the institution are on the same level and that every individual requires special attention and different developmental aids.

Promise Nhlapho, 31 from Mofolo informal settlement in Dube, Soweto has been attending SAPD since 2011 where she learnt needlework and beading. She has also been placed in a part job where she does crafts three times a week.

“I have a matric certificate unlike many of my peers here at SAPD but despite this I had no practical skills or experience so I started attending classes at SAPD. I have since gotten a job and earn R450 a week which might seem like a little but at least I am independent. For someone that comes from an informal settlement like me, I appreciate this income because I can buy food and clothes. I still come to SAPD twice a week where we do needlework and beading, I also try and assist them here to teach the other young people who are not as advanced as I am,” said Nhlapho.

For more information on National Youth Development Agency, you can visit their website