Why Our Youth Matters - Business Media MAGS

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Why Our Youth Matters

Sanlam speaks to Thando Pato about its involvement in youth education programmes.

Since its establishment in 2011, the Sanlam Foundation has invested R630-million in local communities through various initiatives.

Some of the foundation’s work deals with initiatives targeted specifically at the youth, especially in the areas of Consumer Financial Education and Enterprise Supplier Development.

Nozizwe Vundla, Head of Sanlam Foundation, says investing in youth initiatives is an important business imperative for Sanlam. “We have a huge population of young people in South Africa, and they need initiatives that address their needs. As a business we need to ensure that we have a stable and sustainable base to conduct our business and that means investing in our local communities.

“We won’t flourish as a business if this sector’s needs are not addressed,” she says.

The seeds of literacy

Vundla says as a financial services company, a key focus area in their youth development strategy is financial literacy, which is addressed at underprivileged primary and high schools through literacy and math’s literacy programmes.

She says the foundation has a programme that sponsors several government schools in underdeveloped areas throughout the country. “Research has shown that children in our schools struggle with reading for meaning which has many implications – including affecting their ability to grasp or link math’s concepts. The aim, therefore, is to improve their comprehension skills and in turn improve their math’s literacy.”

Financial literacy remains important for those who have finished school, and the foundation runs several programmes aimed at addressing this gap to empower the youth.

Providing opportunities

Besides financial literacy Sanlam also sponsors the following youth-centric programmes:

The Youth Values Leadership Programme with partner Columba aimed at high school learners, with a special focus on matric exam readiness and university readiness.

The Youth Enterprise Development Programme aimed at Grade 10 to 12 high school learners with partners, Primestars. This programme encourages young people to look for business opportunities in their communities around a specific theme each year and is in the form of a competition and prizes. These include incubation opportunities after matric, bursaries, cash and electronic devices.

The government-led Youth Employment Services (YES) initiative aims to empower one million young South Africans by offering paid quality work experiences over a three year period. Sanlam has provided employment to over 300 young people through the programme.


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