Skills training for vulnerable youth, Batho Ba Lerato, Thaba Nchu, Archdiocese of Bloemfontein

Priscilla Rakhetsi of the SACBC AIDS Office visited Batho Ba Lerato, Thaba Nchu, Archdiocese of Bloemfontein and met Lerato Moeng (Project Coordinator), Mohau Lekgoa (Finance) & Gloria Radebe (M&E) on 17th October 2012.

The project has four sub sites, in Thaba Nchu (598 children) , Tweespruit (87), Hobhouse (110) and Dewetsdorp (45). The project has a total of 840 children who are registered in the programme, and twelve child care workers who conduct home visits on a daily basis. Each site has a drop in centre or after school care programme.

Children are helped during the after school care programme with  chess, sports and also homework. The project is running a Master Maths Programme at sub sites and that programme is conducted by care workers. The Master Maths Programme was initially implemented by the Department of Education in order to reach out to children who are experiencing problems in maths. The Department of Education provided funding for the training of care workers to enable them to assist beneficiaries with maths lessons in the after school care programme. A total of six care workers has received the training. Additionally, the Department of Education provided chess sets to the site.

The project’s main focus now is to assist child headed families to acquire artisan skills through various forms of skills development. Last year, the project managed to send forty youths to Bethlehem Basic Training Project to be trained in various skills such as plumbing, welding, carpentry and bricklaying. Of the forty youth, ten are road workers earning a salary of R3 700 per month, nine are self employed, and twenty one were referred to the National Youth Development Agency through the assistance of the Department of Social Development to equip them with skills and knowledge on how to make a business plan to establish their own businesses.
The project is actively involved in different community dialogues such as the District Action Committee for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (DACCA) where the Project Coordinator is the executive member serving as a secretary. The project’s involvement in the DACCA has enabled the project to address some of the burning issues affecting the programme implementation in areas of operation such as ID documents for the orphans and vulnerable children.

The project collaborates with the Department of Agriculture and is now supplied with food gardening seed packs for every household. Furthermore, the project received funding from an organisation in Germany. This money will enable them to buy ten computers for their drop in centres so that they can equip the children with computer skills at a young age.