Call for peace at Chrysalis Academy graduation

Chrysalis Academy held a graduation ceremony for 160 young women who completed three months of training.

The Chrysalis Academy has held a graduation ceremony for 160 young women who have undergone three months of resilience training.

Located on the former Porter Estate in Tokai, pillars at the graduation, on Friday April 8, were draped in black and white with slogans calling for international solidarity; radical love and an end to war.

In her address, Chrysalis Academy CEO Lucille Meyer said that as much as they were celebrating their students’ achievements, they all recognised that the graduation was taking place at a time when humanity was experiencing a deep, global crisis, with conflicts in Ukraine, South Sudan, Palestine and other parts of the world.

“In South Africa, the effects of poverty, unemployment and inequality on the lives of people have been devastating,” she said.

The students, aged 18 to 25, arrived at Chrysalis Academy mid-January from Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Kraaifontein, Paarl, Wellington, Beaufort West and the West Coast. More than 100 have matriculated and of these, 95% were unemployed at the time of commencing the three-month programme. They will now start a one-year internship at placement organisations around the Western Cape.

According to Ms Meyer, the programme includes leadership development, two weeks in the outdoors and four weeks of vocational training and work readiness.

Students were also offered one-to-one counselling and seven weeks of therapeutic care in the form of trauma-release exercise.

During the three-months, the students also commemorated Human Rights Day, donated blood, attended a Covid-19 vaccination clinic and volunteered for HIV testing.

The students will be visited at their placement organisations and tracked quarterly over the next two years.

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Student Rushell Matthews dances for the graduates.