Learners at the newly built resource centre, a hub for skills development and training. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - The town of Villiersdorp, or “the pearl of the Overberg”, as it is affectionately known, is outside Caledon.

Established as an agricultural town, its residents are predominantly seasonal farm labourers, who are often without work for almost half the year. 

Historically, the residents live in poverty and are severely under-resourced. 

However, recently, the organisation Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) identified Nuwedorp, a rural settlement in Villiersdorp, as an area in dire need of assistance, particularly for its youth.

VPUU is an area-based community development programme that aims to create safe and sustainable neighbourhoods through urban improvements and social interventions.

It began as a partnership between the City of Cape Town and the German Development Bank. In April 2013, the VPUU non-profit company was established to implement VPUU throughout the Western Cape.

Heart FM identified the Noncedo Educare Centre as an organisation that was doing great work in the community and, as part of the 16 Days for Youth initiative, chose to assist it by improving the facility and providing a hot meal for its residents.

Down the road is the newly built resource centre, which is the pride of the residents. Created by the VPUU, in partnership with the municipality, it has become a hub for skills development and training. 

The manager, Jenny Mckenzie, said unemployment, drugs and school drop-outs were prevalent in Nuwedorp. She said the youth café, inside the resource centre, was a skills facility that offered programmes and courses to enable the youth to become assets to society. 

Life skills were taught through, among others, mentorship programmes, therapy sessions for the disabled, after-care facilities and computer literacy. 

The Noncedo Educare Centre is an extension of the resource centre and looks after pre-school children in the area. It also offers a toy library, which lends its educational toys and books to early childhood development centres in the area. It depends largely on donations and volunteers.

* For more information about the initiative, go to http://16daysforyouth.com/
** Follow the journey on social media @Heart1049FM or @16DaysForYouth - #16DaysForYouth.

Cape Argus