The purpose of Youth Potential South Africa (YOUPSA) is to promote literacy and awaken the creativity, potential and purpose in underprivileged South African children and youth.
Operating in the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape, this non-profit organisation is running innovative after-school enrichment programmes on farms in one of the major South African citrus and vegetable growing areas.
YOUPSA is the only education-based non-profit in the area.
What’s special about YOUPSA’s after-school programmes?
YOUPSA nurtures and grows social-emotional skills, communication, problem-solving, creative and critical thinking skills in disadvantaged children and youth. These skills aren’t developed in the rural schools or in their communities.
The programme contains a variety of personal development activities such as arts, drama, team and leadership building, learning maths through fun, literacy skills, and fun activities for body and mind. During the session, each child also receives a healthy snack.
Life for unprivileged children in the Gamtoos Valley
The majority of the people in this area are very poor and live mainly in informal settlements. Education and literacy levels in these communities are very low.
There is widespread alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence. A large percentage of the children suffer from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, malnutrition, neglect and exposure to daily violence.
In this area, there are so many children with incredible potential. Through participating in the YOUPSA programmes, the children thrive.
This is because they experience stable and trusting relationships, a safe and supportive environment and exposure to opportunities that open new worlds for them.
Why they focus on literacy and creativity
In these communities, there are no libraries or books at school or at home.
A book to read for pleasure is the best present we can give to a child.
Books are so valuable because they help children to develop the ability to think, imagine, and be creative. Reading and discussion are amongst the most popular activities in YOUPSA’s programmes.
YOUPSA also plans to organise outings for the children to educational locations. Examples might include a visit to a horse farm to learn about care for and handling animals, a Volkswagen manufacturing tour, a guided tour through a game reserve or a theatre show in the city.
Why after-school programmes?
The educational opportunities for children in the Gamtoos Valley are scarce.
Unfortunately, the rural schools prioritise rote learning, which leaves children without the skills they need to become fully contributing members of society.
YOUPSA also brings programmes to the rural schools but concentrates on the after-school hours. There are no youth centres, recreational facilities, or other opportunities for development.
YOUPSA’s after-school programmes are the only place where children in this area can learn, be creative and express themselves freely.
One of the participants had this to say: “Thank you, YOUPSA. I love you. You make my life change. I learn a lot of things that I didn’t know. You are wonderful persons and leaders. The after-school programme makes me very happy.”
Gnu World’s involvement
Gnu World has committed to giving YOUPSA on-going financial support to help with essential everyday operations.
We feel it’s valuable to be consistent, offering a monthly contribution that the organisation can count on.
We’ll also be assisting YOUPSA with their digital marketing campaigns and fundraising so that awareness about this special NPO can spread.
With the help of sponsors and partners like Gnu World, YOUPSA hopes to help underprivileged young people all over South Africa.