Mhinti Pato, founder of the Sakhisizwe youth development programme in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, believes young people need to be exposed to a variety of positive experiences in order to develop to their full potential.Pato, who worked for Ikhaya le Themba for eight years as a community development worker, says her vision is to develop and empower young people holistically with life skills that will help them make conscious decisions and live life to the fullest. “Sakhisizwe strives to ensure that previously disadvantaged young people stay in school and graduate fully prepared for a successful future. Young people need to be exposed to a variety of things. Then it can take just one adult or even a better community or family who believes in them to unlock this potential.”Her youth development programme offers mentorship and leadership support to young residents of Imizamo Yethu who are aged between 13 and 25. “We run an afternoon programme which offers academic support focusing on computer skills, maths online, reading and writing and life skills. We also offer sport such as swimming, running, soccer and netball,” says Pato.Participants also get a chance to explore their spirituality every Friday from 18:00 to 21:00 when they pray and worship together. They also explore their creativity through drama, dance and music on Saturdays twice a month. Thirty learners currently attend from Mondays to Thursdays and 50 on Friday nights.“Most of these young people are students who have graduated at Ikhaya le Themba. Most of the youth are doing well, but some experienced hardship through this transition, like dropping out of school, alcohol and drug abuse, gangsters and teenage pregnancy. This decision brought difficult challenges for them as it was hard to build good relationship with other youth workers and they were separated from childhood friendship that existed for six years.”Once a month participants go hiking. “Every school holiday we send a few students to camps in partnership with Scripture Union and Jabulani Africa Ministries. Once a term we have educational outings, sport outings and an event.” They are currently running a fundraising campaign so that they can besustainable for a year while registering as a trust. V For more information visit www.thundafund.com/project/sakhisizwe.