Fit for Life, Fit for Work is a development programme for youth between the ages of 18 and 30. The Fit for Life, Fit for Work programme provides participants with skills, knowledge and positive attitudes to effectively compete in the job market. The programme aims to reduce risk taking behaviour through improved economic prospects, heightened sensitivity to sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and enhanced self-esteem.
 
The Fit for Life programme has been successfully implemented by Fit For Life Fit For Work centers in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, Nwa’mitwa in Limpopo and, Etafeni, Vrygrond in Cape Town and Namibia Womens Health Network in Namibia  .

The Fit for Life programme is a consortium with the aim of bringing about lasting change in the lives of the disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in Southern Africa.

Values: the dignity of each person and the dignity of work.

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June is National Youth Month. Sadly there is little to celebrate. 42% of youth under the age of 30 are unemployed. The employment rate of 18 to 24 year olds has dropped by more than 20% since December 2008. Only one in eight working age adults under 25 has a job. More than 80% do not have formal tertiary education, while two-thirds have never worked. Although the situation is dire, it need not be the case. There are bright spots of hope in our own backyard which equip young people successfully for a socially-responsible and economically-active future.  

The Etafeni Day Care Trust is an excellent case in point. More than 10 years old, the Etafeni Centre in Nyanga Cape Town provides 567 children with superb opportunities of development. Kids receive home visits, education, meals, computer skills, counselling, music therapy, holiday programmes, school uniforms, library services, an array of sporting codes, life skills training and more. The care-givers of the children are also supported and the HIV-positive mothers working in Etafeni’s Income Generation Programme are healthy and empowered.

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Etafeni is entrenched in Nyanga, making waves in Vrygrond and planting deep roots in Nwamitwa. As one of the most successful models for youth job creation in SA, why not provide Etafeni with wage subsidies?

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Photographs by: Michelle Baird