Brothers For All: Giving ex-convicts and troubled youth a fighting chance
Brothers For All helps people who have served prison sentences to build lives, and helps at-risk youth to skill up for the workplace. South Africa has a youth unemployment rate of 80 percent in places and a re-offending rate of over 80 percent. Both of which staggering statistics this organization hopes to rein in with interventions that break the poverty cycle and help to fight spiraling crime rates. The organization is brother organization to Mothers For All, which takes care of orphaned children or those who have been made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
Brothers for All — based in the Western Cape in the township of Langa — was founded by ex offender Sihle Tshabala who serves as the national coordinator for the organization, ex-offender Mzi Duba who is the community director, co-founder for Mothers for All Linda McCourt Scott as the managing director, and serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Robyn Scott who champions the organization’s strategy.
The organization’s successful interventions include a youth leadership program that builds leaders around schools through motivational talks and mentoring; another helps people to make some money from making jewelry which also provides them with entrepreneurial skills; another is a coding start up program that equips people with the technological skills to help them get onto the information highway. The prison rehabilitation program, also called the Group for Hope, offers HIV/ AIDS education as well as coding tutorials for prisoners.
Managing director McCourt Scott says of their future plans: “We hope to scale our model to other impoverished communities around the Western Cape and then nationally. We plan to do the same in correctional facilities.”
Unsurprisingly the organization’s biggest challenge is capacity to help more people. “Our biggest challenges at the moment are insufficient space, computers and data to reach the high numbers of unemployed youth and exoffenders who are trying to access our free coding training program in Langa.”
At the computer lab in Llanga at risk youth gather to learn skills that can help them get onto the information highway.