The upcoming Youth Day on 17 June is a stark reminder of the importance and role that young South African’s play in our economy and future.

However, a great concern is the increase in university and school violence, including stabbings, assaults and sexual assaults, as well as a youth unemployment rate at 55,2%. It is clear that more action must be taken from a social and educational perspective.

Consequently, managed service provider In2IT Technologies SA, in conjunction with the Moving Ahead Development Agency (MADA), has invited 90 boys from their Boys2Men Career Path and mentoring initiative to participate in an annual one-week programme from 17 to 21 June 2019.

“The learners have all come from impoverished and often destitute circumstances without any male role models to guide and support them with their education and shape them to become well-rounded individuals. With the 4th Industrial Revolution upon us, this programme was created to provide boys who display a predisposition for technology and engineering with new skills, carrier guidance and opportunities,” says Saurabh Kumar, CEO of In2IT Technologies SA.

The focus during this week will be on Math, Science and English revision for the Grade 12s in addition to providing courses for the Grade 11 learners on Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanics and Coding. However, this initiative will kick-off with a dialogue on Gender-based violence, as proposed by MADA Chairman, Tshepo Mokoena who says, it’s easier to develop young boys rather than fixing broken men.

Mokoena explains: “These boys will soon become young men and to stop them from becoming perpetrators of violence, they need to be both educated on an academic level as well as a social level. After the loss of my niece due to gender-based violence and seeing many initiatives focusing on woman, I felt it was only appropriate to address this issue at a grass roots level to stop these incidents from happening in the first place. Moreover, the recent appointment of a task team to combat to gender-based violence at colleges and universities makes this dialogue even more important as the learners will soon be heading to these very tertiary institutions.”

The Boys2Men initiative was started in 2016 and the goal behind it has now come to fruition as 45 of these young boys, who first joined the programme when they were in Grade 9, now prepare for their final Matric examinations.

“We have given these boys a taste of what the future can hold for them with different technologically driven courses. However, many of the jobs they are preparing for don’t exist yet and that is why we provided them with much needed skills for the future workplace. In addition, it is also our pleasure to award these hard-working individuals as we will be giving away two bursaries during the Grade 12s Gala Dinner that will be held on 21 June. We are honoured to be a part of this programme and are delighted to see the progress these young boys are making,” Kumar concludes.