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Fifty youths helped build over 30 homes for destitute beneficiaries over the past month in a project aimed at skills development in Chatty, Port Elizabeth. Volunteers, aged 18 to 35, were involved in the Youth Build project that forms part of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) skills development training programme.

“The volunteers have an amazing spirit. They want to learn and be a part of a project that betters their community and many lives,” said NYDA board member AyandaMakaula.

The project was supported by a variety of organisations that included the HDA, the National Home Builder Register Council (NHBRC) and all spheres of government - Provincial Department of Human Settlements (PDOHS) and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

The HDA’s role on the project has been to co-ordinate the building programme and contractors to mentor the 50 participants by providing them with materials, supervision and tools. The Agency also identified the beneficiaries for the 50 houses. The Port Elizabeth office staff will work with the participants in the Youth Build project.

Volunteer Elthea Attwell said the project gave her hope: “Words can’t explain how we feel about the opportunity we’ve been given. It shows that someone cares about our future and we can make a difference in our communities to better our lives with the skills we learn. All of us are proud to serve our beloved country and community.”

After the success of the first project in Kirkwood last year, the NYDA identified Chatty as the platform for this year’s Youth Build, which consists of training the youth in theoretical and practical building tasks. The volunteers learned basic skills like plastering, building, working with various tools and materials.

MEC Helen Sauls-August said the project would help youth realise their potential: “It was good to see the involvement, especially from young women; 75% of the volunteers were women. These are the women who will lead us into the next generation.”

She encouraged volunteers to use their newly acquired skill-set to find employment: "We are starting you on a road to becoming fully fledged contractors. Skills are valuable to any unemployed person.”