Volkswagen unveils its KwaNobuhle R20-million loveLife Y-Centre
Unveiling the R20-million Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) loveLife Youth Centre in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage today (30th November), Managing Director David Powels said it was his hope that the centre would radically transform the lives of the youth who embrace it.
“We hope that this centre will have a profound ripple effect on the lives of young people in Uitenhage and the surrounding areas,” Powels said to the attending dignitaries and community members.
The centre, which has been under construction for eight months, is the second of its kind for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality and the first for Uitenhage. It is funded by a joint Volkswagen AG and IG Metal donation and will be managed by the loveLife Trust.
Powels said the KwaNobuhle loveLife Y-Centre, which opened to coincide with World Aids Day on 1st December, was an invaluable asset to the community.
The aim of the centre is to give the young people of KwaNobuhle and the greater Uitenhage area a safe haven where they can play sport and interact with their peers and adults, thereby developing long term supportive relationships.
“The centre is set to impact over 20 000 youths annually, with a youth-friendly clinic offering specialised HIV and Aids advice, counseling and support services for teens and parents. It will also provide outreach programmes to 20 schools in the area,” said Nonkqubela Maliza, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Volkswagen Group South Africa.
“The centre is equipped with computers, indoor ‘chill areas’ and sports facilities for teens, as well as a loveLife-managed clinic where they can speak to counsellors about HIV and Aids,” added Maliza.
“In 2010, the members of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management visited our company in Uitenhage while attending the Soccer World Cup. In the spirit of the World Cup, they made a legacy donation of R20-million to be used for the construction of this loveLife Y-Centre,” said Powels.
The R20-million investment covers the construction of the centre and its running costs for the next four years.
“We have a long and proud history of CSI involvement that was formalised in 1988 with the formation of the Community Trust, which was ground breaking at the time. This opened up a partnership between the company, unions, community leaders and company trustees who jointly decide how and where the social investments should be made as opposed to the company deciding on its own,” said Powels.
“Since then our approach and focus has evolved into a strong corporate CSI strategy that now houses six key focus areas – Education, Youth Development, Enterprise Development, Health Community and well-being, Environment and Employee Volunteerism,” said Powels.
“Our latest project focusses on youth development and the importance of this in our communities cannot be underestimated. The youth need proper guidance when it comes to issues like HIV and Aids, and the centre will offer just that,” said Maliza.
As with other Y-Centres around the country, peer educators, known as Ground Breakers, will be trained from within the communities to speak at schools and publicly about issues such as sex and relationships.
Community leader Themba Kani, who was appointed as the manager of the Y-Centre earlier this year, said the centre would have a positive influence on the youth in the area.
“I truly believe that the centre will give our young people a positive vision for the future. The lack of HIV/Aids information is a major problem in the area and I believe that we can educate and empower the youth to change their lives for the better,” said Kani.