Charity profile

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects is dedicated to the provision of specialised programmes of education, skills and vocational training and rehabilitation for very poor and at-risk youth in disadvantaged communities in South Africa. Safeguarding and improving the lives of young people is a vital task in South Africa.

In the Western Cape Province where we work, 44 percent of the population are young people under the age of 25. Nearly a third of them live in poverty, with one in five suffering severe social and economic deprivation.

Serving the needs of the some of the poorest, at-risk and marginalised youth to bring about lasting change in their lives. This is our focus at the Salesian Institute Youth Projects. This special Centre of Hope was set up in 1910 and it is dedicated to the holistic care and needs of vulnerable youth and children in Cape Town.  

Many of the youth we work with here in South Africa come from poor, crime-ridden communities. Education and skills training offers hope for these youth. The skills acquired while at the SIYP can
break the cycle of poverty – in particular, when older youth are assisted with job placements that offer new and life-changing opportunities. We offer 3 Programmes:

We designed the Learn to Live education programme specifically for vulnerable and at-risk children
and youth. The School has been recognised as an independent school by the Western Cape Education Department. The programme provides basic education and skills training to youth at risk who, for a variety of socio-economic reasons, cannot cope in mainstream schooling. There are very few such schools. The school currently caters for learners aged 14 to 18 studying at various levels.
All learners participate in academic classes and skills workshops and receive a cooked meal each day.
Approximately 240 children arrive daily from the various communities and shelters in and around Cape
Town. The school has been running for 27 years. 90% of learners either graduate, continue education
in a different facility, attract learnerships or find employment.


Sea fishing is a large industry in South Africa, especially along the Western Cape coastline. The Salesian Institute Youth Projects realised the need for youth with very low levels of education to be gainfully employed in order to contribute towards the financial needs of their families and communities.
The objective of the Waves of Change (WOC) programme is to empower disadvantaged and unemployed youth between the ages of 18–35 years from Cape Town and surrounding areas
by preparing them to find work in the maritime industry. This programme impacts directly on
approximately 200 youth annually. All the participants complete a 2-week life skills program and then go on to complete Safety and Familiarisation Courses, obtain their Medical Certificates, Seaman’s Record Book and other requirements to become seafarers. At the end of all training, participants not only have the hard skills employers require, but also the social skills needed to be successful and sought-after mariners.


The “Porsche Project” is the latest addition to the SIYP programmes and is part of the Porsche After-
Sales Vocational Education (PAVE) worldwide network that offers new opportunities to youth in
the mechatronics arena. Mechatronics combines mechanical and electronic skills. The Cape Town
programme offers a world-class Automotive Service Mechatronics Course that runs over three years.
The programme is being jointly implemented by the Salesian Institute Youth Projects and the local
Porsche importer. This unique combination of competencies allows for a fantastic synergy where the
Salesian and Porsche missions are jointly fulfilled. The life skills component prepares them for the world of work and community. The learning content equips the trainees to diagnose, repair and service the motor vehicles of today and tomorrow across the Volkswagen Group, which includes Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Bentley and Lamborghini.