In 2014 AVA expanded and ran a more complex programme working with 82 youth, many of whom had not found work since leaving school and had been unemployed for several years. 90% of these recruits found further opportunities, either joining other learnerships, studying full-time, being retained by host organisations or working in new jobs. In this year AVA also piloted the YearBeyond programme, placing 20 volunteers in 4 schools.
“AVA for me? There are NGOs in Cape Town that I have been involved with. Some of them I haven’t been involved with. AVA is the best NGO, because it is not just an NGO where you go and volunteer. Do what you are supposed to do. It is like a home. It is like a family, because they don’t only support you by making sure you are happy in the NGO. They also focus on you and how you are dealing with your social problems. In order to deliver the program, you have to first start within yourself. AVA is the best home. You can call them anytime with a problem and tell them what is not working out. They will always find a solution for us. Another thing I love about AVA is that they taught us in every problem there is a solution and as a person you have to take responsibility.”
“I used to do odd work. For example, I would
work with my uncle on the construction sites. I did work, but nothing
permanent. My uncle recommended me to AVA. He told me about a wonderful lady
called Lisa. I was twenty-five years old at the time. She said that she only
works on behalf of the youth, but hopefully they will have a look at me. So I
went there and they had a chat to me. They asked why I decided to come now. So
I told her that I had work on and off, but I just had a feeling to try
something new and achieve my goals. I didn’t have the money to study further,
but I have a passion for IT. I went to AVA to start somewhere. Maybe volunteer
at a computer place or company. So they said ‘okay’.
AVA taught me a lot of skills: listening to people and speaking to people. For example, I didn’t know how to go for an interview, a proper interview. They taught me that. They taught me to work on myself. They taught me life skills. The taught me the small stuff that counts. The same stuff brought me here and kept me here at Dreamworker. I am still here and it is all because of AVA. I didn’t think it would take me this far.”