South Africa: Homeless Young People Need More Than Just Jobs

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This youth month, the hot topic on everyone's lips is youth unemployment. But unemployment is just one of a number of issues affecting the youth living on the streets. These often forgotten members of society often come from broken homes and are exposed to gangsterism, drugs and alcohol. While some find a way off the street, for others there seems to be no escape.

"I'd wake up in the morning, the first thing I'd think is, I need to get something to eat and after that I would try to beg for money, for my drug of choice," said Nali Booysen.

Looking at him now, in a shirt and tie, one would never believe that the 22-year-old training reliever (in retail) once lived on the streets of Cape Town.

Booysen is a graduate from the U-Turn Life Change programme and is now placed at one of the organisation's Charity Shops. The programme helps the homeless with rehabilitation from substance abuse, provides access to therapy and helps them find and secure employment.

Rowen Ravera, the Head of Resource Development at U-Turn, told Daily Maverick that the majority of people they serve are between 18 and 35 years old.

"Thirty-nine percent of...

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