The Oliver Foundation

"Working with local communities to help build a sustainable future for people and the environment"

Projects > Khayalethu Youth Centre


Khayalethu (which is Xhosa for 'our home') is situated in Port Elizabeth, and accommodates 30 former 'street boys' placed in care by the Children's Court. Khayalethu Youth Centre serves the children of the Eastern Cape with most of the children from Port Elizabeth and the surrounding areas.

The centre provides intervention programmes and alternative care for street children, specifically boys between the ages of 6 and 18, meeting their basic needs through a holistic and development approach, with the ultimate aim of re-socialisation and family reunification. The key objective is to empower each child so that he can reach his potential and be able to face challenges in every day life with confidence. This is done by creating a respectful home environment for the youth and having the youth participate in a wide range of programmes.

Education is a priority as many boys will have missed years of school whilst living on the street. All students attend school and many receive additional assistance from a tutor.

The Oliver Foundation has worked with Khayalethu since 2006 with educational support, capital projects and running costs. During this time we have lived through may successes and some failures but we continue to be inspired by the amazing resilience of the boys and it is rewarding to see them develop into young men who can feel proud of themselves and go on to be upstanding citizens within their community.


All boys are expected to take part in a community programme, this year maintaining gardens for a local hospital, to learn the importance of giving to others.

Caring home

A skills programme 'Pakamisa' is also undertaken each year. Previously courses in bricklaying and tiling have been undertaken. Several youth have also done their learners driving certificate.

Many participate in the Presidents Programme (equivalent to the Duke of Edinburgh) which encourages learning new skills, undertaking hiking and camping trips and personal development.

Sport is also very important with many participating in school sports. All Khayalethu youth participate in regular Karate lessons. Martial arts has been chosen because it has many 'hidden values' - it requires strong discipline and self-control from the participants. The aim of the sport is the development of a balanced character through the hard and disciplined practise of both mind and body. It is also emphasized that conflicts should be handled verbally rather than physically. Several Khayalethu youth won medals at the South African Championships in 2006 and represented their province at the National Championships in 2007, achieving 5 bronze, 3 silver and a double gold U17 Springbok Champion. In 2008, five young men achieved their black belts in Karate.

Cycling is also a valuable past time and through a generous donor the boys participate in regular races through their local cycle club, as well as learning to care for valuable possessions.

Exercise and caring for possessions

The boys have recently moved into a new home which has given them safer and improved facilities. They are now seeking funding to ad facilities to the property, including a swimming pool. Hard court, vegetable tunnels and possibly a cycle training track.

Watch this YouTube video about our dreams coming true.

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The Government covers approximately 50% of Khyalethu's costs. Approx £1250pa per child has to be sourced by fund raising.




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