Vrygrond Township has many social problems including crime, gangsterism, abuse, and drug addiction. There is a general sense of apathy and hopelessness among its more than 40,000 residents; 77% of Vrygrond households live below the poverty line. Whereas settlements are usually made up of one ethnic group, Vrygrond has 50% Cape Coloured (people of mixed ethnic origin who possess ancestry from Europe, Asia, and various Khoisan and Bantu tribes of Southern Africa) and 50% African, half of which are foreigners. Racial tensions are high and xenophobia is a reality. While Vrygrond has many early childhood development centers and an excellent primary school, the settlement does not have a single high school. This means high school students have to walk long distances through gang-infested areas to attend schools in Lavender Hill, Steenberg, Retreat and other areas. Additionally, there are no facilities or safe places for young people to go in the evenings and weekends, nor any facility that offers information about opportunities for youth employment, development and education. As a result, all too often young people in Vrygrond enter the world of gangsterism, drugs, violence, alcohol and drug abuse because there are no other alternatives.
Founded in 2011, The Sozo Foundation Trust seeks to equip and empower people with the tools, skills and knowledge for holistic self-development. The Sozo Educentre is an after-school tutoring and mentorship programme for high school learners from the Vrygrond community that provides a safe space for high school learners to achieve their full potential through tutoring, mentoring, nutrition, career inspiring initiatives and psycho-social intervention, and to become a generation of young leaders who inspire positive change in their own communities. Sozo recently received the Viva Quality Mark at Foundation Level for its commitment to best practices and transparency, in addition to the Unashamedly Ethical award for NGOs operating in total transparency and good ethics in the Western Cape. Since 2011, Sozo’s tutoring program has benefited almost 300 students.
EMpower’s 3rd grant will support SOZO to continue providing its holistic after-school tutoring program (including general academic support and specialized math/science/language tutoring, mentorship, counselling, nutritious meals, IT training, and Career Inspiring Initiatives) in its Educentre to 100 secondary school students ages 13-19. The grant will also support Sozo to work with a gender consultant to train staff, review and improve upon its existing gender equality programming
Primary Location: Cape Towm
Funded Since: 2015
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.