The training young people get at Tokai’s Chrysalis Academy is not only changing their lives but also the lives of their families and communities, says police oversight and community safety MEC Reagan Allen.
He was speaking at the graduation of 220 young women from across the province, at the academy, on Thursday April 6.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez was also at the ceremony along with the students’ families and the academy’s supporters.
Started by the provincial government in 2000, the academy offers youth aged 18 to 25 a three-month self-development programme, which includes a range of skills, leadership training and community service.
All 220 graduates will now start 12-month deployments, under the expanded public works programme, to municipalities, the Metro Police, SAPS and the provincial departments of health and social development.
Speaking to the graduates, Ms Fernandez said, “You have been taught to stand in your power, with confidence. I wish that you use this power for good in the spaces you occupy. Be change-makers. If you are going back to homes where there is domestic abuse and violence, for example, I urge you to seek help urgently, whether it be for yourself or a relative. There are various avenues where you can access help, through the police or your local Department of Social Development office. Services can also be accessed by calling the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428 or by visiting helpformen.co.za.”
Mr Allen said: “The manner in which this academy is making a difference in the lives of these young people can never be downplayed. Not only does it impact the individual, but it also brings about a change in their families, which in turn can lead to considerable changes in their communities.
“They have a responsibility now to take the skills and insights that they have obtained and to not only apply it to themselves, but to influence other young people in their areas, so that they too can make choices that will divert them away from choosing paths that could be detrimental.”