Project celebrates 109 years of training youth

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects 109 years of changing lives

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP) has a rich 109-year history in Cape Town serving the needs of youth at risk by providing education and skills development training.

This, in turn, facilitates employment in a country with appalling unemployment rates, particularly amongst the youth. Other figures indicate that nearly a third of the youth in the country live in poverty.

Despite these negative indicators, the SIYP’s 2018 Annual Report confirmed that 63% of the youth SIYP worked with were successfully placed in jobs through one of their programmes. This is a huge achievement considering the current youth unemployment rate of 55%.

The vision of the SIYP is inspired by Don Bosco’s educational system of “reason, religion and loving kindness”, harnessed to empower the youth to take their rightful place in society and the mission is to provide for the physical, educational and spiritual needs of youth at risk through the provision of education, counselling, recreation and training, in a professional, caring and secure environment.

Many of the youth they work with come from poor, crime-ridden communities in and around Cape Town. Education and skills training offer hope for these youth. The skills acquired while at SIYP can break the cycle of poverty, particularly when older youth are assisted with job placements that offer new and life-changing opportunities.

There are two main projects for youth at risk in the Greater Cape Town area. The projects are managed by a committed and skilled Board of Directors and staff, consisting of Salesians who live on the premises and professionals from the corporate and education sectors.

The Learn to Live School of Skills is a programme specifically for vulnerable and at-risk children and youth. The school has been recognised as an independent school of skills by the Western Cape Education Department. The programme provides basic education and skills training to youth at risk who, for a variety of socio-economic reasons, cannot cope in mainstream schooling. There are very few such schools.

The school currently caters for pupils aged 14 to 18 studying at various levels.

All pupils participate in academic classes and skills workshops and receive a cooked meal each day. Approximately 240 children arrive daily from the various communities and shelters in and around Cape Town. Ninety percent of learners either graduate, continue education in a different facility, attract learnerships or find employment.

The “Porsche Project” or PTRC-ZA, is the latest addition to the SIYP programmes and is part of the Porsche After-Sales Vocational Education (PAVE) worldwide network that offers new opportunities to youth in the mechatronics arena.

To sustain current programmes and augment new innovative programmes into the future, SIYP requires urgent funding to continue with the provision of specialised programmes of education, skills and vocational training for very poor and at-risk youth from disadvantaged communities in Cape Town.

Their work ultimately facilitates youth employment, creating hope, a more stable society and sustainable livelihoods.

You can donate directly on the website at or call 021 425 1450.