YouthBuild USA President and CEO John Valverde and YouthBuild USA Director of International Field Services Seth Diemond visited YouthBuild South Africa, meeting
with current participants, staff, board members and alumni; touring work sites;
and collaborating with partners and local leaders.
This fall, YouthBuild USA President and CEO John Valverde and YouthBuild USA Director of International Field Services Seth Diemond visited YouthBuild South Africa. They were led by YouthBuild South Africa Executive Director Oupa Mbiya Tshabalala and YouthBuild USA Board Member and Saint-Gobain YouthBuild Academy Alumna Ms. Neo Ntsala.
During their week-long trip, the YouthBuild USA team visited YouthBuild South Africa’s offices in Johannesburg, toured the Saint-Gobain YouthBuild Academy in Germiston, and met Saint-Gobain Africa CEO Othman Benjelloun Touimi. In Eldorado, they joined young people for a hands-on experience at worksites of the Faranani Infrastructure Project, a project led by YouthBuild South Africa in partnership with the Trevor Noah Foundation. They also visited the YouthBuild South Africa Gap Year Skills Center in Durban. Finally, they attended the Ivory Park Faranani Infrastructure Project graduation of 92 YouthBuild participants—a joyful celebration of the young people’s goals, aspirations, and achievements.
“John Valverde’s visit to South Africa reinforced the eminent global vision for YouthBuild. We were ecstatic to have an opportunity to share our story with him during his visit. The excursion went a long way in assuring our partners and staff of the unwavering support from YouthBuild USA,” said YouthBuild South Africa Executive Director Oupa Mbiya Tshabalala. “Our youth were happy to share the graduation and special moments with both John and Seth. We are truly grateful for the wonderful visit.”
This visit provided an opportunity for YouthBuild USA representatives to experience YouthBuild South Africa’s program culture, curriculum, and design in action. They felt the passion that the YouthBuild South Africa team has for their work and the young people they serve.
“The love that the program leaders and staff have for the students—and the love that the students have for their community— is inspiring, as is the hope that these young people have for their communities,” said YouthBuild USA President and CEO John Valverde. “The way in which YouthBuild South Africa engages with its partners is a powerful example of collaboration and leadership for our entire network of YouthBuild programs.”
YouthBuild USA is grateful to partner with YouthBuild South Africa with longstanding support from Saint-Gobain and the Prudential Foundation; the Faranani Infrastructure Project, supported by the Trevor Noah Foundation; and the National Youth Development Agency.