SAYes Annual Report 2021

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SAYes Annual Report 2021


3 Michelle Potter 4 Gillian Anderson 5 Andrew Dellis 6 A Mentee’s Story – Lysette Tshikuna 10 Our Impact 20 SAYes Alumni 22 Financial Review 23 Acknowledgements


Michelle Potter

of poor reception for cell phone data, and loadshedding (power cuts). For our less experienced, younger mentees, we are working on matching them now that we can visit the homes and check in with them in - person, for additional support. SAYes mentors from all over the globe are consistently meeting via video call with their mentees; actively listening, sharing their perspectives, and providing the invaluable support and guidance SAYes mentees need. The feedback from our mentees during the evaluation of our 2021 programme, tells us we hit the spot. You can read more about it later in this annual report.

Year two of the pandemic meant the need for our services in South Africa was greater than ever before. Many of our independent mentees found themselves losing the jobs they had worked so hard to secure, unable to support themselves and their families. Our switch to remote mentoring continues to thrive. We paused our in-person programmes and made the switch to remote as soon as lockdown was announced in 2020. For our experienced mentees remote mentoring is working very well, despite the challenges


During 2021, following a great deal of research, we launched our programme in the UK. We decided on a small pilot programme for care leavers, so we partnered with Southwark and Cambridgeshire local authorities who are referring young people to us. We are learning what different challenges young care leavers face in different countries and unsurprisingly the very clear consistent message that we all need somebody to believe, to trust, to be consistent in our lives is global. We look forward to sharing our detailed pilot report with you later in the year. We continue to move forward, with your support. Thank you for standing with us. Michelle Potter Executive Director and Co-founder


Gillian Anderson Thank you to all the incredible people who offered their time and support to SAYes over the last year. I’m thrilled that so many of you committed to becoming SAYes mentors now that we are an international non-profit organisation with remote mentoring programmes in the UK and South Africa. Switching to remote working is one of the unexpected blessings of COVID, and one that means our mentees are now working on their transition planning with great mentors from all over the globe. Our mentees have told us how much this programme means to them, and in return we want to tell you how much you mean to us. Young people are struggling with loneliness and isolation, so more than ever before they need to know that they are valued, supported and cared about. SAYes mentors are able to do that for them. Please read on to learn more about the impact SAYes mentors are having on their mentees. To the many of you who have donated - thank you. Funding for all causes has been hit hard during the last couple of years, so we appreciate enormously that you have chosen to support SAYes. We cannot do this without you.

Gillian Anderson Co-founder and Patron


Andrew Dellis While 2020 was a call to arms in which the action and support of; for and through civil society was exemplary, 2021 asked for a still steeper rung of fortitude. Despite excellence in programming delivery and impact in 2020, we, along with many other civil society organisations, encountered a general hesitancy and inconsistency in philanthropic funding throughout 2021. This directly affected the mentor mentee matches we could initiate within the capacity of our small team, at a time when the need for personal guidance, advocacy and support for young people was and is so very clear. Combined with unwelcome pressure to reconstitute and pivot away from our core mission, the desire and tenacity for SAYes to enhance, endure and persist in our own being (our ‘conatus’) was never stronger. We summoned this resolve through the generosity and leadership of our board and executive, through the patience and good humour of our mentors, and through the vocational will of our team. We were also able to lend strength, and proudly, from our care-experienced Alumni; who fearlessly spoke of change in their own terms in the South African parliament. Throughout 2021, we initiated 88 new mentormentee matches, this in addition to supporting matches contracted in late 2020. While a reduction from the number of new matches (105) initiated in 2020, total matches under management over 2021 was in real terms 180. It is worth pointing out that this amounts to 360 individuals - each interviewed, trained, matched, contracted and professionally and personally supported by the SAYes team, weekly, for up to 9 months of mentoring. This is an extraordinary effort and one that generated considerable impact as is documented below. Combined

with the provision of data and cellular devices, direct resource support to mentees, including scholarships, transport, accommodation, books and food, SAYes continues to punch well above her weight. Impact comes at many levels and in many languages. In the coming years we will continue to expand both the reach of our programmes and the depth of the impact. SAYes mentees of 2021 have shared with us their reflections on the tangible benefits of mentoring, connecting as they did with mentors from all over the world for one hour a week. These are insightful and hopeful reflections sprung from the generosity of trained and supported mentors. Yet they come to us from young people who by pure chance of personal history have found themselves hereto with deeply limited access to guidance, to expansive networks of introduction and opportunity and to the security of positive role models. Without addressing social poverty, these limitations will continue to exert their effects both personally and societally. Let us continue to enhance, endure and persist for and with each other, so that no young person’s imagined or possible future is contracted by sheer chance of circumstance. Andrew Dellis Operations Director


Lysette Tshikuna A mentee’s story My name is Lysette Tshikuna. I will be 24 years old this year. I moved to South Africa in 2009 with my two sisters and my uncle’s family, but in 2012 I was removed from his care along with my sisters and I was placed at St Michael’s Child and Youth Care Centre. It was here where I was introduced to the SAYes Mentoring program.


Lysette Tshikuna

Above: Lysette with mentor Hayley

I first joined the SAYes program when I was in grade 10 and my first mentor’s name was Shereen. Shereen was extremely different to me but somehow we managed to find common ground and make our relationship work. Then in grade 11, my mentor was Hayley. Hayley worked in the field I aspired to be a part of and she became my first role model. A woman who showed me just how strong we as women can be. In my matric year, St Michaels opted not to be a part of the SAYes program but because this was a very important time in my life, I contacted Hayley and asked her to help me along the way because I needed guidance and felt a little bit lost. Hayley helped me in terms

of thinking about my future after the children’s home because I was very anxious. Along with her help, I received help from Lynne, a former SAYes mentor who was assisting my sister with housing. Because we did not have any family in South Africa, we were always anxious about what life after leaving the home would be. The children’s home tried to get us into foster care but it did not work out. During my matric year, Hayley and I worked to make sure I could secure funding to study, but by the end of the year, I realised that there was no funding mainly due to my being non-South African, so I decided to take a gap year and try again for another year.


Lysette Tshikuna During my gap year, I worked for Coirtex and Coir Creation CC as a receptionist in order to raise enough funds for my studies. In the meantime, I reapplied for university. I did not have any concerns about getting into university because I understood that my marks were good enough, but because I was not South African I understood that it would be extremely difficult for me to be able to study further if I did not secure funds. My boss at the time always encouraged me to keep applying and also assisted me with scholarship opportunities that he knew about, however most of them fell through. By the end of 2017, I had received my acceptance letter from Stellenbosch University but because I had not yet secured the funding, I became extremely stressed. Around this time, Michelle from SAYes contacted me to inform me that she knew of a scholarship that supported foreign students; this was how I came to know about the Moshal Program. I applied, had my interview and waited on feedback from them and a lot of other scholarships I had applied for. When registrations came around, I still did not hear anything from any scholarship and so I started to wonder if I would need to give up on my dream and just look for a job instead. While I was reading the registration documents that the university had sent me, there was a section that indicated that when a student registers, if they deregister before the beginning of March, they would get their registration fees and deposit reimbursed in full. So I borrowed R10,000 in order to register, as this was the minimum deposit that international students needed to pay before they could register. This was how I managed to register and start my studies. By mid February that year, Moshal got in touch to inform me that I had been accepted on their scholarship programme. 8

Lysette Tshikuna After my first year’s madness, I once again became a SAYes Mentee, with my mentor at the time being Lynn. While working with her, she encouraged me on the importance of having hobbies while also studying. So after speaking to Carly from SAYes, I contacted Stellenbosch Dance Academy and I became a student with them. I always enjoyed dancing so the fact that SAYes encouraged me to continue dancing meant a lot to me. In 2020, I worked with my mentor Sheryl on how to manage my relationships. In my third year at Stellenbosch University, I worked with my mentor, Emma, on how to manage family relations, planning for life after my final year at university and I also worked with her and also with my scholarship team on securing a job or getting into Honours.

In South Africa, I only have my two sisters and it has been extremely difficult to manage on our own because like every child out there, I have also wished to be around my biological parents. However, because of the great support structure I had and still have, I do know that these times did not bring me down too badly. I had mother figures everywhere and also had mentors and a great support from Moshal, St Michaels, my sisters and SAYes, where I learnt how to be a mature adult, how to persevere and how to strive for what I want. They encouraged me continuously to go after what I wanted and I do not think that I have regretted any part of it. Those that worked and those that did not work were all stepping stones to where I currently find myself. Thank You.

In 2021 I moved to the University of Cape Town for my Honours year. I then worked with my mentor Tracey on managing my mental health and finding coping mechanisms as well as finding work. Also in 2021 I joined the SAYes board, where I use my experience as a SAYes mentee to be a voice for the young people that the program serves. This year (2022) I started working full-time for Netto Invest, a long term supporter of SAYes.


Our Impact Outcomes Our total number of matches under management over 2021 was 180. It is worth pointing out that this amounts to 360 individuals – each interviewed, trained, matched, contracted and professionally and personally supported by the SAYes team, weekly, for up to 9 months of mentoring. This figure includes some matches which were initiated in 2020 plus 88 new mentor-mentee matches made in 2021. While this is a reduction from the number of new matches (105) initiated in 2020, it is an extraordinary effort and one that generated considerable impact as is documented here. Combined with the provision of data and cellular devices, direct resource support to mentees, including scholarships, transport, accommodation, books and food, SAYes continues to punch well above her weight.


Our Impact This impact report considers SAYes programmes as gauged by young people who participated as mentees in 2021. We report on matches graduating after June 2021 (see Outcomes 2020 for mentees graduating before this date). Of the 92 matches in this cohort, 64 (57%) have graduated, 23 (21%) have yet to graduate (i.e., will graduate in the second quarter of 2022) and 25 (22%) have had an early closure. For the current report we surveyed 50 of the 64 graduating mentees. 92 MATCHES

Consistent with the principle of effectiveness, SAYes evaluations address variables predicted to be impacted by the nature of the programming provided. This is important because all too often attempts to measure impact rely exclusively on ‘success stories’, which while attractive to readers, do not provide anywhere near the level of resolution needed for testing or improving the nature of social change programming (i.e., they do not allow for falsification). In our work we examine; •

(1) the impact of a trained and supported mentoring relationship on a) ‘perspective’, b) ‘social capital,’ and c) ‘secure social bonds’.

(2) the impact of structured transition planning in improving in a) decisionmaking, and b) healthy practices - across multiple life domains.

64 (57%) HAVE GRADUATED 23 (21%)


25 (22%) EARLY CLOSURE 0



Surveys were carried out by Transition Specialists and occurred at least one week after match graduation via cellular call. In some cases, mentees completed the survey themselves via an electronic survey link. Care experienced young people living independently made up 28% of respondents, 23% were High school students/ recent matriculants, 16% were living in Child and Youth Care Centres, and 33% were from Community Organisations/NPOs. RESPONDENTS 28% CARE EXPERIENCED YOUNG PEOPLE 23% HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS 16% LIVING IN CYCC 33% FROM COMMUNITY ORGS/NPOs 0



1: targets the three key aspects of social (beyond material) poverty encountered by young people in under-served settings, namely a poverty of perspective, a poverty of social capital, and a poverty of secure social bonds. We are convinced of the universality of this challenge and of the (improving) set of evidence-based tools and techniques that may be applied to address it. 2: targets process variables relevant to sustainable improvements in independence and wellbeing. Given the complexity of an individual’s life course and an interest in personal growth and development beyond a single intervention, we are convinced of the merit of targeting and assessing process (over outcome) variables. That is to say, where our goal is to improve a young


Our Impact person’s capacity for positive growth or change (in any area of independence or well-being), we target and measure improvements in the activity hypothesised to effect positive change over time1. In this respect SAYes mentors and mentees are supported through a structured transition plan designed to improve decision-making and healthy practices across multiple life domains. The direct assessment of these process variables is crucial for estimating the long-range impact of behavioural interventions, and for us in particular, in refining our programming model. In support of both objectives, we also report individual and community level indicators that may be of interest.

(1) Reduce Social Poverty 96% of mentees said having a mentor positively affected their life (48% ‘life-changing’, 44% ‘much positive impact’ and 4% ‘some positive impact’). This is the same impact figure as reported in 2020. When examining the reasons mentees gave for these ratings, we identify themes corresponding to the skills of mentorship trained at SAYes – specifically guidance (in building perspective), advocacy (in building social capital and affordances), and support (in building secure social bonds). A few examples of which are provided below. Please note that each comment represents a snapshot on a mentoring relationship and on its impact on a young person’s life as gauged by post programme survey. We do not report here on direct analysis of each young person’s transition plan, a much larger and more detailed project. Many of the comments here apply across different impact objectives, however we arrange them by specific intervention targets. Consistent with a 96% impact rating, mentee responses reflect almost without exception a ‘life changing’ or substantially positive impact, as expressed opposite in their own words.

(2) Improve Decision Making and Healthy Practices 100% of mentees thought that having a mentor positively improved their choices related to independence (45% ‘life-changing’, 47% “much positive”, 9% “some positive”). Again, this is the same result as in 2020. Mentees work on transition plans organised by domain. When asked at the end of the programme cycle about impact, mentees thought the area where having a mentor most improved their independence was in Education & Learning (selected by 40%), followed by Work & Money (selected by 38%) and Home & Family (19%). These have consistently been reported as the top Independence related domains for several years. Two mentees (4%) selected Community & Citizenship as the biggest impact area in independence, reflecting the support of mentors in working towards establishing legal documentation, asylum and refugee status. Within each independence domain mentees also rate the extent of impact. Ratings of more than 85% positive impact where achieved across all independence domains, including Sport &

Contrast this with assessments of performance relative to peers (e.g., grade performance relative to class average), or with individual performance relative to set time points (pre/post assessments). Both of which are indirect (and poorly predictive) measures of an individual’s capacity for change. 1


Our Impact “I have changed the way I see, think and take on situations and challenges in my life.” “It came to a point where I did not know what to do - but now I have a clear direction. I had to change everything and go on a different path - The tools that I got and the mentoring the nine months for me was life changing” “I have become much more aware of the type of individual I am and there has been a lot of growth that has taken place on this journey. Having a mentor has led me to change parts of my life for the better and results regarding those changes are slowly becoming visible.” “It’s a networking environment for young people. SAYes is definitely that and there’s nothing like that.” “SAYes has been an amazing network where I am constantly learning and growing both independently and as an individual in society.” “I knew what I wanted to do but my options weren’t open but [my mentor] made it clear and all about life so now my options are clearer.” “To be given an opportunity to feel special and important.” “It’s a great opportunity to talk to a new voice that has no bias, someone that isn’t a family member - that can guide you with school work and personal issues.” “I learned a lot through my SAYes mentor, I feel so grateful to have a person like [my mentor] in my life. My life changed a lot. I’m a positive person throughout all that’s happening in my life because of the guidance and support I get from my mentor.”


Our Impact “Making decisions was a life changing thing for me. Taking something - like a problem and making it into small steps. Like you find out things - you look online you ask around and then you do the next thing. This was big for me. I never knew you can do it that way.” “I managed to plan about other things in my life, things that could improve it.” “ I decided to change my career and went in a total different direction - auditing to teaching, education course - due to mentorship.” “Saving money - opening a bank account and doing that, I would never have thought of it.” “I have savings and money in my account which has never happened before. My mentor helped me to understand that value of budgeting.” “The decision to explore raising funds towards my education despite the doubts I was feeling. Also the courage to and drive to keep looking for internships despite the difficulties that came with it.” “I have learnt to become independent when it comes to educating myself for the future if I do not have all the resources that I need going forward in future.” “I am planning my NPO and I have explored a lot of things I want to do for myself and with the kids in the community - I learnt a lot about giving back to the community to give them direction.” “For me always thought of it [community] as politics … now I got to accept that me being involved – [there are] some changes I can make even at a small level. We complain but the moment we get involved there will be a change you want to see - if you just sit and do nothing about it - it will just be. I am opening up even to my community.”


Our Impact Recreation and Community & Citizenship, with especially high impact ratings occurring within Education & Learning (96% positive including 29% ‘Life changing’), Home & Family (88% positive including 45% ‘life-changing’) and Work & Money (85% positive and 33% ‘life-changing’). The highest proportion of “no positive impact” or “Don’t know” ratings was 12% for Sport & Recreation, although more that 30% of mentees scored the impact in this domain as “Life changing” with a further 30% rating mentoring in this domain as “Much positive impact”. In the choice between “Some positive impact” versus “much positive impact” to account for socially desirable responding, averages across all domains were consistently in favour of “Much positive impact”. We are confident mentee ratings reflect the impact of the mentoring as young people experience it, and pleased to report consistently positive ratings. Mentees are also asked how their decision making improved with respect to independence, both in a ranking format and by noting examples of improved decision making across each independence domain (see below). SAYes programming trains mentors to work on different stages of decision making with their mentees, beginning with raising consciousness, exploring options, getting a focused plan, and then adjusting and revising to feedback/setbacks. Mentees felt the largest impact in their decision-making process was in focus with 85% saying “yes - I am a lot more focused now than before”, with the remaining 15% saying “yes - I am a little more focused now than before”. None of the mentees said they were “not more focused now than before” or that they “did not know”. The sense of deliberate and focused decision

making (agency) in one’s life is an unmistakable sign of the impact of good mentoring. The second biggest impact in decision-making was in options explored (i.e., “I see more options and explore more options now than before”) with 81% saying “yes - a lot”, 15% “yes - a little”. 4% said they “don’t know” while none said they did not improve in options explored. Expanding the base of options explored in areas such as education and learning, work and money, sport and recreation, is a crucial feature of improved decision making. Ratings for improvements in consciousness ( “I am more aware (and accepting) of factors affecting independence now than before”) were just as high, with 79% saying “yes - a lot”, and 19% saying “yes - a little”. As with focus and exploring options, the value of improved self-awareness (and self-acceptance) in the context of making life changing decisions cannot be overstated. That mentors are having this outsized impact is consistent with what is known more generally about the value of interacting with a skilled and supportive listener. Finally, when asked “When it comes to your independence do you feel you can cope with challenges/setbacks/changes now more than before?”, none of the mentees said this was not the case, 73% said “yes – a lot”, and 25% said “yes – a little”. This is an impressive impact especially in the very difficult South African context of 2021, compounded as it was by disruptions and uncertainties due to the pandemic. This result also speaks to the impact of mentoring on decision-making beyond the nine-month programme cycle, a very satisfactory outcome. Examples of impact on decision making and of decisions made in specific domains are given opposite.


Our Impact 98% of mentees thought that having a mentor positively improved their practices related to well-being (37% ‘life-changing’, 51% ‘much positive impact’, 10% ‘some positive impact’). Mentees thought that the area where having a mentor most improved their well-being was Emotional Health (selected by 51% of mentees ), followed by Identity Health (17%) and Cognitive Health (12%). Emotional and Identity health have consistently been reported as the top Wellbeing related domains for several years, although this is a very high proportion of mentees choosing Emotional Health. We suspect this reflects the high incidence of mental health challenges which were and remain especially pressing in the current context. A smaller number (11%) chose Physical Health as the biggest area of impact, and fewer still chose Social Health (6%). This last result is surprising and different from previous years and may reflect the general challenges of social isolation and restriction on group activity and travel due to the pandemic and related containment measures. Within each Well-being domain mentees also rate the extent of impact. Ratings of more than 84% positive impact where achieved across Physical and Social health, and over 90% for all other domains. Especially high impact ratings


occurred within Cognitive Health (98% positive including 38% “Life changing”, 40% “Much positive impact”, 21% “Some positive impact), Emotional Health (94% positive including 34% “Life Changing”, 43% “Much positive impact”, 17% “some positive impact”), Identity Health (92% positive including 35% “Life Changing”, 44% “Much positive impact” and 13% “Some positive impact”). Mentees are also asked how their healthy practices improved with respect to well-being, both in a ranking format and by noting examples of healthy practices across each well-being domain (see below). Mentees felt the largest impact in their healthy practices was in coping with challenges (94% impact, including 63% “yes – I am lot more able to cope with challenges/setbacks/changes now than before” and 31% “yes – a little”) and options explored (94% impact, including 65% “Yes – a lot” and 28% “yes – a little”). Both focus (92% impact, including 73% “yes – a lot” and 18% “yes – a little”) and improvements in self-awareness and self-acceptance (92% impact, including 69% “yes – a lot” and 22% “yes - a little”) had similarly high impact ratings.

Our Impact “I had my breakdowns due to personal reasons and my mentor was there to check up on me and linked me to services I can reach out to for support I am truly thankful” “Much more focused than before - I am able to control my emotions - accept situations as they are. Now I am able to deal with situations - I know where I am standing in a situation and do what I can. Control my emotions.” “To always talk about my feelings and to be vulnerable at times, because am also a human.” “We shared about my anxiety and we worked together to come up with coping mechanisms.” “I chose to start taking care of my well-being by choosing to give my body time to rest too.” “Exercising is healthy but I would never do it before but now I do and it does help with mood and everything.” “I was the kind of person that always helped but I did not take care of me. Now I understand I have to fill my cup. I am aware of what I am good at and what I am not good at. I know now when to give myself a break.” “That it is important that I take time for myself and that I should not only focus on other people that sometimes I can focus on myself as well.” “This year I’ve learnt more than ever how important your identity is with that being said this year I have learnt how important I am and how important it is to be comfortable with being me how to love myself regardless and to always protect my identity and stay true to my identity and nothing or no-one can take away my identity.”


Our Impact “I love SAYes, my 3 years with SAYes has changed my life.” “I think that this is a great platform for the youth to be on as it provides guidance and gives all mentees an opportunity to reflect, think and plan towards their future, as well as receiving tools that will assist them with getting them to where they want to be in a few years.” “Every person needs a mentor, no matter how successful we can be in life it is always best to learn from others even the smallest details can make an impact into our life, having a mentor can guide you through a positive direction you can learn from them through their own experience and challenges both advantage and disadvantage on how to grow as an independent living care-leaver.” “SAYes is a very good program which has built me and other mentees into strong men/women that have had a positive impact to their lives. Lots of us had no idea on what our lives could have been if it wasn’t for all the supports and sacrifices from the mentorship program and those impacts are what that motivates me.” “SAYes has made such a positive impact in my life. Being part of SAYes has allowed me to grow with time, with each mentor there’s a different experience and there’s always something to think about and work on. Meeting my mentor from week to week almost set this reminder that things had to be done and achieved.” “Being a part of the SAYes program has impacted my life for the good. Joining the program was the best thing I could have gifted myself…I learnt that I am able to do whatever it is I want to as long as I stick it out and complete the task at hand. It helped me in my working environment, it helped me in my personal life but what I’m most thankful for is SAYes helped me become the woman I’ve always wanted to be and keep on striving to be, it’s no longer pipe dreams that keeps hanging in the air…” 18

Community Indicators While community indicators are not the most reliable or valid predictors of outcomes for either independence or well-being, for completeness we include the following indicators based on the mentee self-report survey described before. — 64% of mentees were in formal education during 2021. • 79% of these passed a grade or level. • 18% are still currently doing a course. • 4% did not pass a grade or level. — 22% of mentees were in matric during 2021. • 100% passed matric. • 57% obtained a Bachelors pass. • 43% obtained a Diploma pass. • The national matric pass rate for 2021 was 76.4% with a 36.4% Bachelors Pass. — 42% of mentees gained work experience during the mentorship. — 50% of mentees are currently employed (note the current sample remains skewed upwards by a large proportion of employed interns at one of our NPO partner programmes). — 6% of the mentees are still living in residential care, with a further 8% in hostel/ alternative care. — Of those living independently. • 61% are in stable accommodation (“living in a place and I know I care stay here for awhile”). • 12% are in unstable accommodation (“living in a place but I am not sure how long I can stay here”). • None are currently homeless. — 6% (3) of mentees became or had a partner become pregnant in 2021. • 2 pregnancies resulted from consensual

intercourse though pregnancy was unplanned in each case. 1 pregnancy was due to forced sex “Yes – against my will” (counselling support and survivor advocacy were made available). All pregnancies are planned to term.

— 73% of mentees are South Africa citizens with required documentation. • 6% are South African citizens without documentation. • 14% are not South African citizens t hough they have documentation in support of residency. • 6% are not South Africa citizens and they do not have documentation in support of residency. — No mentees were in conflict with the law in 2021. — 73% of mentees never used cigarettes. • 10% did so daily. — 86% of mentees never used cannabis. • 4% did so daily. — 35% of mentees never used alcohol. • 27% less than a few times a year. • 22% every few months. • 8% monthly. • 8% every few weeks. — 100% of mentees would recommend SAYes mentoring to other young people (94% “yes – a lot”). — 98% of mentees say SAYes gives them a good feeling (including 59% “I love SAYes”, 24% “Really good feeling”, and 14% “Good feeling”). Some of the reasons for why mentees they feel the way they do about SAYes are given opposite.


SAYes Alumni Submission to Parliament


SAYes Alumni

The aim of the SAYes Alumni is to create common interest groups, and provide a forum for discussion and advocacy for care leavers and those young people living in care. Care leaver representatives from the SAYes Alumni took part in the first ever closed session with children and young people in the South African Parliament in May 2021. Their submission was to amend the Children’s Act in favour of better support for care leavers. They stood in the halls of power and boldly demanded “an explicit legal and policy mandate for individualised, extended care leaver support”. Inspired by their experience with SAYes mentors, and by legislation in the UK affording care leavers dedicated Personal Advisors until the age of 25, Amina Pululu, Bertin Kalombo, Carly Jacobs, Destino Kazika Nzonzidi and Zizipho Quluba proposed extending access to formal mentoring to young people in care and to care leavers throughout South Africa. Drawing on their own experiences in the care system SAYes Alumni set out an impassioned case for change. Parliament was told that due to limited resources the child and youth care centres are unable to provide the necessary transition support; that many young people are forced to return to the situations they had been removed from, and once there they have problems with reintegration often ending up supporting themselves by illegal means. The Alumni’s suggested solution was clear – the Government should mandate and back formal one-to-one mentorship programmes that provide support and aid in transition to

independence for young people in care, and they should further support the extension of these programmes to be available to young care leavers up until the age of 26. They cited the UK’s policy of assigning a personal advisor to 18-25-year-old care leavers to provide advice, support, and help devise and implement a pathway plan. The representatives highlighted their own successful mentorship support and presented their work with the Children’s Institute (UCT) and Queen’s University Belfast, in developing key messages on mentorship for youth in care, the work describing the benefits of mentorship that the alumni had experienced. We wait to see whether their arguments have had the desired effect and that Parliament endorses the suggestions and amends the Children’s Act. What is clear is that SAYes alumni are proof that one-to-one mentoring for young people in care is a successful way to transition to independence, and without this mentoring these young people would not have been in a position to address the public hearing to advocate for change for those still in the care system.


Financial Review: Year End 2021 Income Trusts and Foundations (38%)



Overseas Donations (34%)



Nonprofit Partnerships (21%)



Corporate (4%)



Other Donations (Individual) (2%)



Events (0%)



Interest (1%)



Total ZAR 1,928,744


Cost of generating voluntary income (5%)


Charitable activities (92%)

ZAR 2,372,409

Governance (3%)



ZAR 2,577,692

Surplus/Deficit for the year


Interest 1%

141,071 64,212


Other Donations 2%

Corporate 4%

Governance 3%

Cost of generating voluntary income 5%

Overseas Donations 34% Income Expenditure

Nonprofit partnerships 21%


Trusts and Foundations 38%

Charitable Activities 92%


Our work would not be possible without the ongoing support SAYes receives. Please accept our gratitude, each and every one of you. Your help means the world to the young people who take part in the SAYes TIL Youth Mentoring Programme. We hope that you will continue to offer support where it’s possible. Major donors

Special thanks to

• • • • •

• • • • •

Friends of SAYes Germany DG Murray Trust Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation Ackerman Family Foundation The Valentine Charitable Trust

Keith Shone Lena Whitaker at Oscar Rae Rowan Gordon & Trevor Jacobs at Nimble Group Sabine Schmidt Sandy Naude - Independent Newspapers

And to our mentors – the selfless volunteers who make such a difference simply by showing up for these young people – thank you! A huge thank you goes to our boards of trustees in South Africa and in the UK.

Thank you to our partners

Designed in the UK by Lena Whitaker at Oscar Rae.


SAYes Mission

To inspire and inform leaders of social change through mentoring.

SAYes Vision

To end social poverty.


c/o Nimble Group 35 Brickfield Road Woodstock Cape Town 7925 Tel.: +27 (0)21 830 0795 Mobile: +27 (0)76 771 9011 Email: Web:

South African Youth Education for Sustainability (SAYes) Trust Registration no. IT 2774/2010 NPO no. 088-299-NPO PBO no. 930 035 691 & Section 18A Level One (135% B-BBEE procurement recognition)

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