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350 youth educated through R1 programme
​Founder of Mind Empowers Youth Organisation Thobani
Makhaza, Gospel Icon Dr. Rebecca Malope and Bishop
Dube at the R1 Programme media briefing.

GIVING youth a shot at education and assisting them overcome social ills is how the Mind Empowers Youth Organisation (MEYO) is shaping future leaders. Through the organisation’s R1 programme, about 350 underprivileged youth have been enabled to obtain a tertiary qualification.

Thobani Makhaza, founder of MEYO, who once lived on the streets said the City’s Safer Cities and iTRUMP units assisted him to rebuild his life, inspiring him to pass the gesture forward through the non-profit organisation. “The Municipality gave me a chance when I was still living on the streets. That was my motivation to push and work hard to change other people’s lives. I’ve helped people get out of prostitution and off the streets by putting them in school. I believe this initiative will reach more people,” said Makhaza.

MEYO’s objective is to develop youth and community at large through education, skills development, crime prevention, motivational speaking, counselling and career guidance, he explained. The R1 programme, which was successfully launched in partnership with the City, has grabbed the attention of Gospel icon Dr. Rebecca Malope. She pledged to fund students registered with MEYO using proceeds from her upcoming retirement album celebration.

Dr. Malope who is releasing her 36th album of her 32-year-long music career praised MEYO for its efforts to develop the youth, particularly street kids. “The message my album speaks of is giving thanks to the Lord.

This is my way of showing the magical ways in which God works and how he provides. During our time, I wish we had such people who saw potential in street kids and gave them a second chance at life. Having people like this in our society is so wonderful,” said Dr. Malope. The retirement album celebration will take place on 27 September, the same day as the graduation for previous beneficiaries of the organisation.

carly.vanderwesthuizen@durban.gov.za

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