Yvette and Dirk Bellens, founders of Young Africa Namibia, said they are proud and honoured to have won this award. “We see it as an important first step in setting up a new, energy-neutral skills training centre for underprivileged youth in the location of Walvis Bay, Namibia”. The jury especially appreciated the originality of the project and the positive impact it has on the community.
The mission of Young Africa is to empowero underprivileged young people. Young Africa empowers young people by educating them in an integral way and encourages them to build up a decent living for themselves and the society around them. Young Africa teaches young people skills of the hands, to make them self-reliant, skills of the heart and mind to live with dignity and responsibility and skills of the soul to live with purpose.
The centres in Zimbabwe (1998) and Mozambique (2006) have trained over 16,000 young people. A good 75% of them are economically active and are building a better future for themselves and their communities, while 80% have indicated to make more responsible choices regarding HIV/AIDS.
Following Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Young Africa decided to offer underprivileged youth in Namibia a better future through market-oriented skills training. Solar energy is on the rise and so is the demand for skilled technicians. As a first skills training project, Young Africa Namibia will offer underprivileged youngsters the opportunity to learn the required skills in solar energy and turn it into a career. Moreover, it will promote the use of solar energy at its energy neutral skills training centre, still to be established.
Yvette and Dirk hope that this first project will interest and stimulate others to invest in the growth of Young Africa Namibia, so they can start building the energy neutral skills training centre in the heart of Kuisebmund, Walvis Bay which is to offer a variety of other demand-driven skills training projects.