A newly formed non-profit organisation in Retreat is hoping to give youngsters a second chance at a better future.
Ibhabhathane, which is Xhosa for butterfly, was started by a group of people who were all too familiar with the concept of change and transformation that is required in their communities when it comes to drugs and gangsterism.
The organisation chose the name as an analogy for the process young people go through to become their best self, as the caterpillar does to become a butterfly.
Shanon Dreyer, PRO for Ibhabhathane, said the organisation was started in July this year by a group of people who hail from Cafda and who know all too well the circumstances the youth face.
“A few of us came together and realised that there aren’t all that many services and organisations available in the Cafda area. We saw the need to create a sustainable alternative programme to combat drugs, gangsterism and unemployment.
“There are plenty of programmes but for some reason we don’t hear that a lot is offered in Cafda. We want to change that,” said Ms Dreyer.
The skills currently being offered are hairdressing and beauty – by sponsor Roslyn Carelse who owns Gabby’s Hair and Nails Studio and Training.
“Noticing that projects such as these aren’t accessible to our youngsters I made the decision to get involved because I want to give them a chance to become sustainable and empowered.
“We need to reach out for our children and give them these type of opportunities,” said Ms Carelse.
She also hopes to train more people to become assessors and facilitators.
Michey Meyer, 29, a recovering drug addict, from Lavender Hill is the organisation’s first participant. She is currently being trained by Ms Carelse in beauty and will be mentored for two years – upskilling her and giving her an opportunity to start her own business.
“For a very long time my whole world revolved around drugs and gangsterism. I always had a passion for beauty and massage but at the time drugs consumed me and I didn’t care about much else and I was hanging out with gangsters,” she said.
She was eventually kicked out of her home by her mother but continued using drugs. “I came to a point one day where I asked myself why I was smoking drugs. I realised I wasn’t happy and that it wasn’t fulfilling me. That’s when I decided to change and I went to an outpatient rehab,” said Ms Meyer.
When Southern Mail spoke to Ms Meyer, she had been clean for 277 days.
“Now my future looks a lot brighter and I can start giving back to society. I encourage other young people who are where I was, not to lose hope. Change your mindset, think about the positive and remember that you were created for a purpose. There is always hope,” she said.
Other skills which the NPO hopes to offer soon include welding, painting, home care and others.
The hope is to get sponsors and companies on board to offer internships and mentorship to young people who want to go into a specific field.
The organisation’s director, Marvin Sampson, said anyone moti- vated to make something more of their lives was welcome to apply for the mentorship programme.
“We want to transform and help people break through their caterpillar phase to turn into a butterfly and live up to their true potential,” he said.
Youngsters who are interested in joining Ibhabhathane’s mentorship programme can contact them to set up an interview Companies and sponsors who would like to take part in the programme can contact Marvin Sampson on 063 346 8393 or Roslyn Carelse on 078 998 8095.