Wednesday 4 July 2018
The ever-proactive Greater Durban YMCA, which provides holistic support for young people, has signed an MoU with the Westville Community Corrections to enable both parties to work more closely together on projects to assist and support ex-offenders and help them integrate back into society.
The Y-Justice programme helps to transform young people “from subject to citizen” and is one of the focus areas of YMCA outreach. Y-Justice does ongoing work with low and medium risk ex-offenders from Westville Prison providing skills, education and support once they leave prison, and to oversee their integration for at least three years after parole or until they become fully independent and self sufficient.
The formal MoU was signed at a morning long workshop and presentation at the Durban YMCA, and commits both Community Corrections (ComCor) and YMCA to assist and support each another, working together and pooling resources. The MoU puts guidelines and rules in place to maximise the joint working relationship for increased efficiency. For example the MoU helps the YMCA social workers with access and transport support. It also allows them to reference the research carried out by Safer Cities programme. Jointly they can be better placed to address social issues, deliver food parcels and monitor the progress of ex-offenders.
Many success stories are lauded from the joint Y-Justice / ComCor project in recent years. One of them is a team of a dozen former offenders with an interest in upholstery. After serving their sentences, they all completed their SETA skills training and jointly opened a functional and operational upholstery business. They are now looking at becoming SETA accredited trainers themselves so they can train and support the next generation of those former offenders who have an entrepreneurial interest in upholstery.
“It is a challenge for former offenders to re-integrate into society as finding gainful employment once a person has a prison record is a huge disadvantage and life-long challenge,” suggests Mr Lee Mbongwe.
“It’s easy to ignite one match and watch a piece of paper burn,” said Mbongwe: Head of Development of Medium C at Westville Correctional Centre. “The choice is does one want to light up the world or burn it down. You can make a difference with only one match,” he said. “We want to uplift our youngsters. The only way is to help them to build and then encourage them to lead the way,” he said.
The MoU was signed by representatives from Westville Community Corrections; YMCA National and YMCA Durban. Present at the signing were representatives from Westville Correctional Services; ComCor; Dept of Safer Cities; Perfect Shelter; Ndlela Village; Cato Manor Area Business; YMCA reps and release candidates. The MoU is effective immediately.
The YMCA strives to empower young people for life, leadership and service. Durban YMCA is a registered NPO and is affiliated to South Africa YMCA – part of an organisation with 45 million members in 125 countries around the world which offers student accommodation to UKZN during the academic year, and comfortable and affordable accommodation for visitors during the University vacations. The greater Durban YMCA serves over 5,000 young people with a variety of programmes aimed at improving their lives and equipping them for life, leadership and service.
For more info contact 031 305 4496 or visit www.dbnymca.org.za.
YMCA Signs MoU With Westville Community Corrections
Wednesday 4 July 2018