2015 was a year of consolidation for SAYes: we formalised our programme content, revised our systems for scale and impact, and worked closely with each of our partners to fully understand the need.
74 matches successfully graduated the SAYes programme in 2015 (77%). We are once again very pleased to see over 40% of them back again this year. We are also pleased that 16% of our graduating mentors have returned to the programme in 2016, including one mentor returning for her fifth consecutive year.
Overall 74% of the 2015 graduates successfully completed an educational grade/level. We are satisfied with this outcome since it is important to understand this figure in the context of young people in care (children’s homes) where disruptions to education due to change of location/school, court proceedings and trauma/recovery are all too frequent.
12% of graduating mentees were in their final year of schooling (termed “matric” in South Africa). All passed their final exams and 38% obtained a university pass. This is remarkable in light of both the national university pass rate of 12%, and an estimated 50% drop‑out rate in the South African school system. 62% of graduating matriculants in 2015 are now studying at a university or at a vocational college, and 12% are in employment.
Of the mentees in the 2015 programme 15% are employed this year (typically part‑time, casual work whilst still in formal education), while 32% had a job‑shadowing or internship opportunity during the programme year. The impact of the mentors in introducing young people to ongoing career opportunities has been significant, both in expanding possibilities (imagined future careers) and building experience and social capital.
We asked our partner homes to rate impact of the SAYes programme on each young person’s preparedness for independence – defined as making informed choices across important achievement areas such as education, career and citizenship. Social workers thought that for more than 90% of graduates there was a noticeable positive impact from participation. Impressively, for 6% of mentees the impact of SAYes mentorship was rated as “life changing”. For 29% the rating was of “much positive impact” and for a further 55% the rating was of “some positive impact”. When asked to rate the impact on the young person’s psychosocial development – defined as healthy practices across important developmental areas such as emotional and physical health – a similarly high figure was reported. For 36% the rating was “much positive impact”, for 50% “some positive impact” and for 1% “life changing”.
We are very proud of the role SAYes mentors played in the lives of the young people in our 2015 programme. We look forward to following the progress of these young people, especially the many of them (36%) who are now living back in the community.