Some of the youngsters, who are part of the exceptional initiative.
With South Africa just recently commemorating Youth Month, it is only fair to recognise the role that a relatively small group of individuals, known as the Abashintshi, is playing in changing their communities from within.
The Abashintshi programme is a remarkable initiative, which equips unemployed youth in the rural areas with the necessary skills to start making a positive change in the communities where they live.
The programme, first launched in 2015 by Sappi, has enabled these young people to individually contribute towards the efficiency of their communities.
The programme focuses on inspiring these youths, and turning them into the change-makers, who are shaping the world with their creativity, hard work and fresh thinking.
The Abashintshi Social Mobilisation Programme is rooted in the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) model.
ABCD is a stimulating approach to sustainable community-driven development, which is grounded in linking micro-assets to the macro-environment.
The premise is that the Abashintshi can drive the development process themselves by identifying existing, but more often than not unrecognised assets, and with their newly-taught skills, assist them in responding to challenges and creating local social improvement and economic development.
The ABCD model encourages community members to focus on strengths, capabilities and assets in their community, showing community members how their lives are interrelated and how they can be involved in the development of their lives and the lives of the people around them.
Another one of the Abashintshi programme initiatives is dedicated to assisting the youth with starting their own businesses and enterprises.
The micro business skills training materials are simple and easy to follow, covering the main aspects of micro and small business management. The programme is positioned to benefit unemployed people in disadvantaged areas.
The results of the Abashintshi programme speak for itself in the triumphant success stories.
The Abashintshi also run a school holiday programme that keeps children stimulated, having them participate in sport activities and utilising their creative abilities. Sappi provides a range of prizes for participants encouraging the young to try new things.