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Rural development initiative brings hope

Rural development initiative brings hope

23-year-old young man from a small village called Igxarha is a fine example of resilience and determination.

Growing up in a home headed by a single parent in the outskirts of Morgan Bay, Alex Tshijila together with his younger brother shared a two bedroomed RDP house with five of their extended family members.

His mother Collina Tshijila has over the years been the sole breadwinner putting food on the table for the family of eight.

After matriculating from Byletts High in 2012, Tshijila had dreams and aspirations of becoming a nurse but due to financial difficulties he was unable to enroll in a tertiary institution.

However, circumstance did not deter the polite calm spirited young man as he went on to volunteer at a clinic in his area for nine months and was appointed to serve as a counselor for a further two years.

In 2016 a unique opportunity presented itself in the form of a youth development programme called National Youth Service Cops (NARYSEC) which he benefitted from it.

Alex was one of ten young people chosen from his area to be a participant in the programme, in the second intake of 2016.

NARYSEC is a skills development programme launched by the Department of Rural Development and land Reform (DRDLR) in 2010 to recruit rural youth between the ages of 18 and 25, who have completed grade 12. 

Speaking to BCMM Monthly, the 23-year-old said, “I am thankful to be a part of this programme, it is a great privilege.  I am now able to take some of the burden off my mother’s shoulders and help put food on the table at home”.

He further added that young people need to regain dignity and the respect that has been tarnished by bad behavior and the use of drugs.

Delivering the keynote speech the BCM Speaker Alfred Mtsi said, “This programme not only combats the high unemployment rate in our rural communities but also provides an opportunity for our youth to be the champions of socio-economic development.”

A welcoming event was hosted by Buffalo City Metro together with DRDLR at the East London City Hall for the participants who completed the first phase on Wednesday 15 February 2016.

Speaking at the event, Mandayi Rala Director of DRDLR said, “The aim of the programme is to develop young people at the cutting edge of rural development. We wish to empower these young people to become agents of change and development.”

The recruits are contracted for a period of 24 months with a stipend of R1320 per month which comes as much needed financial relief for the participants.

Rala said the participants are put into initiation phase which is a period of four months where they receive military training.

“The participants are put into initiation phase which is a period of four months where they receive military training in either Saldana or 3 Sai Battalion military base followed by two months of community service.”

She said after the first phase participants can then choose from a range of fields in which to be trained.

“The participants choose from a range of fields that include plant production, specialist security, information technology technical, water and wastewater, business management and transport operations to name a few.

NARYSEC currently has 1200 participants enrolled in the programme across the province and is looking to strengthen its relationship with the Metro through partnerships with colleges and the municipality.


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