The Salesian Institute Youth Projects (SIYP), an NGO working with youth from at-risk communities in Cape Town in the field of education and skills training, has witnessed first-hand the emotional impact Covid-19 has had on society.
The institute’s Learn to Live School of Skills caters for youth who can no longer cope in mainstream schooling. Their pupils are aged 14 to 18 – a very vulnerable period in a teenager’s development.
“Since our learners come from socio-economically marginalised communities, the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly evident,” said the institute’s chief executive officer, Patrick Naughton.
“The ongoing and uncertain opening and closing of schools during this pandemic have brought much confusion and disruption to our learners, with emotional effects that we do not yet fully comprehend.”
The most pressing need throughout the country is for food. In response to this, SIYP secured some funding which enabled them to provide food to the pupils’ families on a bi-weekly basis. SIYP also supports pupils with transport fares, to enable parents to send their children to school with no further financial burden, and pupils are given three meals – breakfast, a sandwich at teatime and a cooked lunch – while at school.
The institute said psycho-social support they offer is of vital importance and their full-time social worker on-site, tending to pupils’ psycho-social welfare has seen signs of additional strain.
“The pandemic has revealed a need for additional support and funding to enable SIYP to provide a holistic solution to our vulnerable youth in need during these challenging times,” the institute said.
For more information on how you can help SIYP, click here.