By: Jennifer Mdluli for ACTIVE! Change Drivers

Young people in South Africa have been endured with the dilemma of unemployment for decades now and continue to face challenges with the expenses endured during the period of seeking employment, which includes money for data, printing, transport and many have overlooked the pressure of dressing up for an interview. To ease off the pressure and Bridge the gap a community organization, developed a community walk in shop amongst other encouraging deeds Ponelopelo Community Development NPC was formed in 2017 under the name Kasi Edutainment, an organization that aims to inspire, inform, counter-indoctrinate, shape people’s minds to make better life choices and to choose the right role model as opposed to township them said Jacob Madisha, the founding director of the organisation.

Young people in today’s economy are desperate, under the circumstances it has become hard to keep finger on the pulse of what is needed when job seeking and many employers have been proven to be stagnant about employing people who have been unemployed for longer than two years, and have gaps in their cv’s. Individuals who are unemployed are often more susceptible to several challenges, including difficulty in finding future employment and decreased income.

Unemployment also impacts society and the economy as a whole. The longer a person is unemployed, the more likely they are to experience potential negative effects and contribute to the multiplier effect that unemployment has on the community that is not their only challenges but looking for employment has become more expensive, from tying cv’s, attending interviews, preparing for the interviews and yet dressing up for the interview. Unemployed individuals are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues than people with jobs.

The Ponelopelo Community Development main goal is to end poverty, revitalize communities, change lives, create opportunity, but most importantly make sure that children in poor backgrounds don’t grow up like they were raised, with not much to expect but a little of what they have , an organization that has become a pillar of strength for most of the Atteridgeville community.

Ponelopelo Community Development has diverse programs including include feeding school children in the morning before they had to school, clothing, sanitary towels and uniform donations, sports programs, but they still felt the need to introduce a new program in the community, which they named Community Walk In Shop; The people’s store for the people, people from unprivileged backgrounds, unemployed, stricken by poverty are welcome to their store to pick up free clothes, those who are about to graduate but have no clothes to wear, those who have job interviews are welcome borrow formal clothes and shoes.

It is known that 2 in 3 young people cannot afford to attend a job interview, and of those 2, they have never interviewed for a job before, and 71% of employers will not hire someone who does not observe appropriate dress code. The organization has been bridging the gap with significant help from young people in the professional workplace for the very first time. Not only will they get help with interview or graduation dress codes, but those interested in retail will also have the opportunity to learn how retail works. They score with free training and the heights of the retail industry, so they’re job-ready. Young people are now able to walk in and pick an outfit suitable for their interview at no charge.

“The project accommodates everyone who needs assistance; we do not marginalize situations based on the economic categories or segregate people according to their race. The organization benefits different Communities, families, Orphanages; Safety Home’s and drops in Centers.” Stated by Madisha

Hundreds of people have benefited from the organization and its projects, directly or indirectly helping one person in the family to plant the seeds for the whole family, they have a leg to stand on, and creating sustainable development, enough to chase their dreams and achieve The power of fate, knowing they have someone to look up to and willing to assist at a time of need.

Madisha understands that alone you can go fast but together we can go far, which is important in community led projects to create partnerships, he has partnered with several organizations in the community including Pheli Youth Hub which is part of the Activate network which is a youth organization that believes in their vision and mission. Their integrity is the reason they became partners. Their partnership has sought and directed them to more people towards the project that they could not reach on their platform, created chances for those they could not reach.

Pheli Youth Hub; Phathuxolo said this is an important step forward for networking, which means that everyone can make a difference and that in their little corners as a network we can have a bigger impact. They didn’t expect that there was a huge demand when they opened the walk-in store. This shows them that there are so many young people who are unemployed because of the curve.

You can assist the course by donating your old clothes to the organization which will be used to assist another young person to look presentable at their job interview and graduation event or even assist with food and basic clothes to the organization has they have vast and diverse projects aimed at helping the community at large.

Author’s Bio:

Jennifer ‘JennyLove’ Mdluli a young person passionate about media, writing and mostly community development. And her motto is seeing young people progress and creating positive impact and doing what they love drives her. Her ultimate goal is to tell African stories the African way. “If it doesn’t work change the plan not the goal” Jennifer ‘JennyLove’ Mdluli

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