The first successful Trainees

Life and Vision for kids South Africa NGO

“Life and Vision for Kids” was established to provide opportunities for growth and development for children, youth and young adults in South Africa. The organisation aims to upskill members of their local community to help improve livelihoods and counter the ongoing impacts of an historically oppressive system.

As part of this mission, an internship programme was established for young adults to develop skills in technical maintenance and earn experience in a professional work environment. The internship
programme is led by Martin Wood at the Sustainability Institute (SI) in Lynedoch, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Two young adults from the Lynedoch valley, Cameron and Mateo, were chosen to pilot this programme.


Cameron Gordon (24) was assisting with cleaning and maintenance at the local primary school when he was identified as a strong candidate for the internship. He lives in a small home in the
Lynedoch valley with five family members for which he is one of the key breadwinners. “We don’t have much, but we get through the month.” says Cameron. Cameron is kind, reliable and eager to learn new skills. He has always had a passion for IT and computers, but has not had the opportunity to develop his skills in this field. With this internship, he has been granted the opportunity to learn new skills, gain professional experience and have the confidence to pursue his dreams.


Mateo (20) was working part-time on a farm in Lynedoch when he was identified for the internship. He lives in a small home with nine family members for which his aunt is the primary breadwinner.
Mateo began working on the farm without completing high school in order to help provide for the family.
Mateo is artistic and dependable and enjoys working with his hands. This internship has helped develop his skills and natural talent for woodwork and technical maintenance. It has also provided him the means to achieve his High School Certificate by attending night school. He is now more confident in his own abilities to pursue a career he is passionate about.

The Internship

The internship with Martin has taught these individuals new skills in electrical maintenance, plumbing, wood-working, home improvement and more. They have also had the opportunity to
work on their CVs and interview skills, and learn how to find and apply for jobs. On top of this, they receive exceptional personal mentorship. Martin is seen as a father figure to these young men who have expressed their immense gratitude for his guidance and advice on life and learning. Martin teaches them what it means to be strong family and community members, as well as how to develop the soft skills necessary to excel in a professional environment. Cameron and Mateo have also expressed their gratitude for these technical skills in their own home. They feel empowered to maintain their homes and fix any structural or electrical issues that they
previously couldn’t afford or correct on their own. The hard and soft skills learnt in this internship have opened up even more opportunities for these young men and they express their gratitude to Life and Vision for Kids for giving them the chance they deserve.

Mateo: “[Life and Vision for Kids] have been so supportive. They don’t only think about you, but they think
about your family as well.”

Cameron: “They always want to help and offer to help with books and studying.”

From this internship, Cameron has earned full-time employment where he will be working with fruit fly production—an ecologically beneficial practice for the farming industry. He aims to further grow
his skills in IT and computers in this new role. Mateo hopes to study Graphic Design once he has completed his National High School Certificate. He aims to work part-time to support his studies and his family. His experience in this internship has provided him the skills to find good employment, as well as the confidence to pursue his
passion for art and graphic design. These opportunities are lacking for many young individuals in South Africa. This case study has
proven that young South Africans have huge potential and an eagerness to learn, despite their disadvantaged circumstances. We believe that, given the right opportunities, these individuals can
achieve great things for their families and community.

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