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Building young people’s resilience in a poverty-stricken community: a strengths-based approach

Building young people’s resilience in a poverty-stricken community: a strengths-based approach

In South Africa, recent statistics indicate that unemployment remains a formidable challenge, particularly among young people. This paper presents findings of a project that engenders resilience in young people through job creation in a rural community. The study methodology adopted a qualitative design using observations, documentary analysis and in-depth individual interviews with a sample of 23 respondents in six micro-credit projects. The findings demonstrate how young people use their skills and knowledge to integrate social and economic objectives to ultimately build resilience and hope in a community with a high rate of unemployment. Three of the projects are currently achieving their desired goals, while the other three encounter constraints that are beyond their control such as lack of markets and electricity shortages. Despite the challenges, evidence suggests that when people build on existing strengths and resources available in the community, there is greater social cohesion and cooperation among members, thus aligning identity, purpose and action in people. Moreover, the results reveal that no matter how modest the economic benefits are, they nevertheless act as a catalyst for building resilience in marginalised contexts, thus building hope in a society organised around work.

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Resilience