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CT youth empower themselves and their community

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Every year, the celebration of Youth Day in South Africa, on June 16th, captures the attention and involvement of all who wish to mirror its legacy. This year, over 400 Muslim youth are participating in the celebration of Youth Day by getting involved with the Mustadafin Foundation’s programmes which focus on the social issues that are faced in their communities.

The Mustadafin Foundation promotes disaster relief, health care, poverty alleviation and community development, as well as youth projects. Most of its youth development programmes centre around the standard of education provided to the youth, youth empowerment, developing their skills and making them self-sufficient.

Director of the Mustadafin Foundation, Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, explains that the focus is to continue to gain involvement from the youth in social upliftment awareness programmes in order to enable them to make decisions for themselves.  This year, Mustadafin is also aimed at emphasizing the importance of proper education.

“Mustadafin’s educational programme aims at teaching youth how to live with other human-beings and bringing about awareness of the importance of proper education so that they are reminded to make conscious decisions to change their lives and ensure that education comes first,” said Johnstone-Cassiem.

“It is incredible to see such a positive change in the youth on our programme, many who have been exposed to unemployment, drugs, violence and gangsterism on a daily basis. Several of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and with the on-going Isibindi programme in Tafelsig, we have witnessed something truly special. We have seen them taking ownership of their lives, they are starting to be proud of their accomplishments.”

The programme includes reaching out to those who are victims of poverty and even those who fall victim to substance abuse. This is an attempt to raise awareness among the youth of the unfortunate realities that many people are facing that are worse than their own.

Those involved in the initiative participate in activities that range from self-defence classes to music and art related activities. Participants also take on the responsibility of raising awareness of the social issues that are introduced to them through the programme by distributing Youth day messages and pamphlets and participating in placard demonstration minds.

The Foundation began its social outreach programmes on 01 June 2016 as part of Child Protection Week and will continue to do so up until Youth Day. The first awareness programme saw youth, Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and Isibindi learners doing placard demonstrations in the Delft, Sherwood Park in Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Montrose Park and Tafelsig areas, with the theme: ‘Stop child rape, kidnapping and abuse’.

“All of this could not be possible without our dedicated team. Our aim is to continue to create awareness on challenges our youth are faced with and arm them with the necessary tools to make their lives a success,” continues Johnstone-Cassiem.

The foundation hopes to increase participation from the youth with regards to raising awareness on the social realities of those in the more disadvantaged parts of their communities annually. There is a growth in the number of young people who are generally not concerned with the community but the Mustadafin foundation creates a platform for a change in this type of mindset.

Johnstone-Cassiem explains: “If you look at the youth of Mustadafin foundation, it’s actually the youth who are working with youth.”
“If youth are being given the opportunity, they would actually be doing a lot more.”

Many of the youth are not being exposed to environments different to their own. The result of this is their ignorance of the social realities faced by those in poverty-stricken areas and the lack of eagerness that exists to raise awareness and participate in ridding their communities of these challenges. Mustadafin has, thus, created a situation where it is possible for more of the youth to be exposed to social issues and which enables them to try and make a difference. This promotes the true essence of

Youth Day and instills values within participants that go far beyond simply celebrating Youth Day.

Those who are interested in getting involved in the initiative can do so by visiting or contact their offices situated in Athlone at 021-633-0010. VOC

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