After a severe hailstorm damaged the roof of Umzansi Youth in Business Center in Pietermaritzburg, in the South Africa's province of KwaZulu-Natal, the classroom and counseling space became significantly reduced.
The youth center is a space for young people to go after school and learn business skills that will help them succeed in their future careers — with the goal to train a new generation of leaders to be a force for good in the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partnered with the South Africa Department of Social Development to renovate the building, with a ribbon-cutting on Friday, July 1.
The Church has also given permission for the youth center to use its Self-Reliance program and manuals to enrich their programs for the youth, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
Umzansi Youth in Business Center CEO Mbongeni Zuma said, “We have seen that the Church’s manuals used for searching for jobs to be more effective than the manuals we were using before. They seem to be highly focused, short, and have practical examples of people getting themselves up.”
Elder Glenn M. Holmes, Area Seventy for the Church’s South Africa Area expressed gratitude to South Africa’s Minister Lindiwe Zulu, National Minister of Social Development, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, for introducing the Church to the project.
“We are delighted to take part in this exciting initiative that has the potential to touch thousands of young people,” Elder Holmes said.
He noted, “We have great love for the youth; they have the power to shape the future.”
Nositho Duma, 17, is enrolled at the center and wants to start her own business in livestock farming. She told Newsroom that the classes at the center are training her “into having the right mind set on whatever aspect, whatever direction I want to go into, so I feel like they have helped me become the person to pursue and follow my dreams.”
After cutting the ribbon, Minister Zulu said, “We are really grateful that you as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints saw it important and you found it important to look deeper into your pockets, which by the way should not be taken for granted because where you took, you took from your own community, where you took, you took from people who sacrificed and said 'We will contribute to the wellbeing of communities all over.'”