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Building young people’s resilience in a poverty-stricken community: a strengths-based approach

Nompumelelo Thabethe

In South Africa, recent statistics indicate that unemployment remains a formidable challenge, particularly among young people. This paper presents findings of a project that engenders resilience in young people through job creation in a rural community. The study methodology adopted a qualitative design using observations, documentary analysis and in-depth individual interviews with a sample of 23 respondents in six micro-credit projects. The findings demonstrate how young people use their skills and knowledge to integrate social and economic objectives to ultimately build resilience and hope in a community with a high rate of unemployment. Three of the projects are currently achieving their desired goals, while the other three encounter constraints that are beyond their control such as lack of markets and electricity shortages. Despite the challenges, evidence suggests that when people build on existing strengths and resources available in the community, there is greater social cohesion and cooperation among members, thus aligning identity, purpose and action in people. Moreover, the results reveal that no matter how modest the economic benefits are, they nevertheless act as a catalyst for building resilience in marginalised contexts, thus building hope in a society organised around work.

Recorded: July 2010 Brisbane, Australia
Coping Resilience & Hope Building, Asia Pacific Regional Conference
: The Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice

Nompumelelo Thabethe
Nompumelelo  Thabethe
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Nompumelelo Thabethe

Nompumelelo Thabethe is a lecturer in the Department of Community Development, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She started as a high school teacher in 1993 and later worked in development sector for over 10 years. She holds a qualifications in psychology, education and a Masters degree in Adult Education.

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Australia Society for Psychological MedicineANZAPWorld Council for PyschtherapyPACFABrisbane Institute of Strength Base PraticeISHHR - International Society for Health and Human RightWAS - World Association for Sexual HealthMissing of HopeAABCAPSTARTTSANSA