Yamkela Skuni holding fowers

Yamkela Skuni has fresh hope for her career, thanks to JumpStart.      © Mr Price Foundation / Oliver Fraser

It’s Women’s Month, and the perfect time to celebrate the young women who are finding employment and uplifting their families, thanks to JumpStart. Sitting at home day after day, unable to find a job, can be terribly depressing. It’s hard on your confidence, your family and your finances.

Yamkela Skuni from Philippi in Cape Town knows exactly how this feels. She sat at home for two years, hungry for work. With a child to support, this 27-year-old young woman was under immense pressure to earn an income.

“Being without a job is really not nice. I have a child and it’s a big responsibility for me and my family. We are a big family of more than 10 people. Most of us are not working,” Yamkela explains.

Yamkela’s fortune started to shift in November 2021, when she completed the JumpStart Retail Frontline Programme (RFP). With training costs funded by Foundation employer partners like Mr Price Group and SPAR, all it cost Yamkela was her time and taxi fare to attend training. Shortly after, she accepted a temporary job for the festive season at Mr Price Home in Kenilworth. A few months’ later, she was called back to the store for a three-month contract.

“When I got the call, I was so happy. It showed me that out of all the applicants, they chose me. Then, when the three-month contract expired, they said “we choose you” for the permanent position. It showed me I did something well; and that my hard work was noticed.”

These words changed her life.

The JumpStart RFP upskills and empowers unemployed youth with two days of life skills training and one week of in-store training and work experience. This investment in education and skills development has the ultimate purpose of employment.

“JumpStart taught me self-esteem and confidence. It taught me how to deal with different attitudes of customers and how to believe in yourself,” says Yamkela.

In the 2022 financial year, 6 149 youth were trained by JumpStart; of whom 82% were female.

Education and skills development is key to unlocking potential in girls and women across South Africa.  When we make education of women and girls a priority, and break down barriers to skills development and employment, we empower women to take control of their destinies and maximise their opportunities in the workplace.

“I am determined to make the most of my opportunity in retail. Retail is all about working hard and proving yourself. I started out as a casual, then I become permanent. From here, I can be a supervisor … even a manager. You never know where it leads. It is all about working hard.”

As we celebrate Women’s Month, we thank our donors and partners for choosing South Africa’s women and youth. “Please don’t stop supporting JumpStart. We need you and appreciate you. There are a lot of people like me who need this opportunity,” says Yamkela.

Please click here to send a donation to Mr Price Foundation to jump start the lives of more South African youth. Thank you!