Lifting up vulnerable youth in South Africa

In the heart of South Africa, Saulsville is a remarkable school that provides comfort, education, and compassionate care to some of the world’s most vulnerable children and young people. With a number of their residents engaged in farming activities, Saulsville reached out to the Social Employment Fund project to offer even more resources to nourish and nurture hundreds of children and young people.

The Saulsville children’s residence located in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, is a beacon of hope and an example of community-driven initiatives that empower South Africa’s young people. The residence recently teamed up with the country’s Social Employment Fund (SEF) and Solidaridad to provide practical training in sustainable agriculture for its resident young people.

In many countries the definition of an orphan may include street children, children with only one parent, and even children who have been abandoned by both parents. Saulsville makes no distinction between these girls and boys, and every month they care for 200 of the nearly 1,000 orphans in the region.

Many of the children at Saulsville participate in existing gardening activities at the school, which include cultivating crops like potatoes, spinach, and cabbages, that are then sold at local markets. The proceeds from these sales directly benefit the children, and the initiative has had a positive impact, both within the school and in the wider community.

Employment fund builds a future for young people

The focus on agriculture at Saulsville, combined with its desire to provide practical education and sustainable agricultural training to its residents, led the organization to connect with South Africa’s Social Employment Fund project. This programme, with Solidaridad as an implementing partner, focuses shows the potential of the horticulture value chain for job opportunities, and provides a small stipend to participating young people.

With the backing of the SEF programme, the school at Saulsville is poised to expand the reach of its agricultural initiative to even more young people. Though the school already provides residents with essentials like shelter, clothing, education, and meals, the small wages that youth can now earn through the SEF initiative will provide a discretionary income to individuals within the programme as they make plans for a future outside of the residence. The SEF project promises to bring a substantial improvement to the lives of participating youth.

Additionally, as students and young residents at Saulsville take advantage of the new agricultural training, the school hopes to increase the production of needed produce and expand the amount of land allocated for cultivation. The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARDE) has played a pivotal role in establishing the project at Saulsville and is ready to provide assistance as the initiative moves forward.

Community members learn about the SEF programme.

The SEF project brings new hope

The SEF project is an initiative of the government of South Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. It operates at the enterprise development level by increasing productivity and income within farm enterprises, and fuels job creation through valuable work experience. Additionally, it provides increased employment opportunities for South Africans, while also increasing food security.

For the Saulsville orphanage, the ripple effect of the SEF programme is the additional support for vulnerable children and young people that positively impacts the broader community. Together with Saulsville’s dedication and the indispensable support of organizations like GDARDE and Solidaridad, the school and orphanage look forward to a future where its residents grow up to thrive as adults, the local community flourishes, and opportunities in agriculture are a catalyst for positive change.