MTN Foundation and Swaziland Empowerment Limited (SEL) have donated E300 000 to enable Young Heroes to support vocational skills training of 59 young people from different parts of the country. 

MTN Foundation provided E200 000 and SEL contributed E100 000. The 59 beneficiaries of this funding under the Young Heroes Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) are vulnerable young people between 19-26 years old who do not qualify for tertiary admission. This funding will cover their tuition fees, protective clothing, and grade testing costs.  They will train in different vocational training centres around the country. 

MTN Foundation Board Chairperson Busisiwe Simelane and SEL Board Chairman Langalakhe Dlamini presented this cash contribution to Young Heroes at Esibayeni Lodge in Matsapha yesterday.  

MTN Foundation Board Chairperson Busisiwe Simelane congratulated Young Heroes for sticking to their mission of empowering the country’s youth with vocational skills, so that they may achieve their full potential.  

“This is one of the most effective ways to address the high youth unemployment rate in the country by giving them skills that enable them to either get decent jobs or to start their own businesses. We thank Young Heroes for giving us a platform to change the lives of young people,” she said.  

Simelane said they decided to fund the programme once again because they have seen good results from their initial investment. MTN started funding the project from its inception in 2013. In 2018, the company contributed E350 000 to the programme. 

“We also thank Young Heroes for the solid structure to identify young people who are in need and also for putting up a solid structure of accountability,” she said.  

Simelane pleaded with companies to open their doors when the internship time for the programme beneficiaries comes. 

“We know this is a difficult time, be that as it may, may we please afford these young people the opportunity to formally practice what they have learned so that they fully complete their learning cycle,” she said. 

Simelane invited other companies to come on board, sponsor the programme, and empower more young people. 

“If we empower young people, the future of the country will be in safe hands,” she said.

SEL Corporate Social Responsibility Chairman Shaka Ndlangamandla said they hope the number of sponsored young people would increase from the current 59 beneficiaries to at least 200.  

“We have also noticed that most of the beneficiaries need assistance with rental and food allowances. We hope we would also be able to assist them with those needs going forward,” he said.  

SEL was participating for the second year in the Young Heroes Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP). 

From 2013 to date, at least 495 young people have been benefited from this programme and were certified in their fields. Young Heroes Executive Director Khulekani Magongo thanked the MTN and SEL for their contribution.  

“We will make sure that the money goes to its intended purpose to enable these young people to be employable, or start their own businesses, and turn around their lives,” he said.