Thembalethu is a non-residential lifeskills and economic empowerment day-care centre operating in the inner city of Johannesburg (downtown Hillbrow), in the Gauteng Province of South Africa.
Thembalethu Centre proudly launched a new training programme in October 2009. A total of 105 new trainees were enrolled in various training courses to acquire a sustainable and income-generating skill.
Three years ago, the average age of the girls attending the programme was 15 years. More recently the profile of a girl living on the street has changed. We are now faced with a situation where most of the people coming to the centre are young women who make a living as sex workers and many of them are addicted to drugs. Around the Drill Hall in Doornfontein where Thembalethu is situated, there is a high incidence of poverty with a large number of unemployed women who have children.
Thembalethu now renders services to these women and their children, with a view to offer opportunities to learn skills that can generate income for themselves and their families. an after-care programme for school-going girls and boys up to the age of 12 years will also form part of this initiative, providing both relief and peace of mind to women involved in the project. The children will participate in various recreational and sporting activities in a safe and secure environment.
Life skills programmes on different topics such as, first-aid and CPR courses, sex education, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS empowerment sessions are conducted to educate the participants on important life changing issues.
The economic empowerment component at Thembalethu was initiated to enable beneficiaries to earn a living through income generating activities such as beadwork, catering, baking, beauty and nail care. Beneficiaries are trained in these skills and the craft products are sold at markets and directly to the corporate sector.
The A Chance to Play (ACTP) programme was launched in three provinces of South Africa in 2008. It aimed to provide the children of South Africa opportunities for play activities as well as advocating for play to be seen as an important right for children. The programme was initiated in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and has been one of the legacy programmes as it has continued long after the World Cup ended. Thembalethu is one of the facilities that offers a chance to play.