The Sunday Independent

Social entrepreneur upskills youth with disabilities

LESEGO MAKGATHO For more details on IVS, visit www. and for information on enrolling in a programme, email

IN A COUNTRY marred by youth unemployment which hovers at about 63%, Lungile Jafri, who is passionate about empowering the youth, in May 2019 founded the Kempton Park-based Initium Venture Solutions (IVS), an organisation that provides training to upskill unemployed youth and eradicate unemployment.

She says she couldn’t sit back and watch the youth, especially those with disabilities struggle to get jobs.

The 39-year-old started IVS, which is a 100% black female-owned accredited training provider, to offer programmes to provide training to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, with a focus on practical business skills, including financial management, regulatory compliance and market penetration strategies.

Jafri also helps them with company registration and their business plans.

IVS provides programmes geared at eradicating the skills gap in South Africa, such as technical support, marketing, generic management, business analysis, systems development and end-user computing.

After enrolling in a 12-month learnership, students – who comprise entrepreneurs and youth in search of gainful employment – are provided with work-readiness programmes to upskill them for the world of work.

“We prepare them for the workplace by training them in soft skills, such as workplace etiquette, communication and time management. After that, we place them with some potential employers where students can hopefully start their careers.”

Their main focus has been ICT (information and communications technology) training, with the aim of upskilling locals who can fill gaps in this market.

Since the founding of IVS, inclusivity has been the mainstay of their programmes, which explains why they have intentionally included people with physical disabilities as part of the beneficiaries of their programmes.

Jafri says the youth inspire her to do a better job each time. Her company has so far helped more than 100 young people. She has 12 employees and 80% of them are youth. She said their programmes are geared mainly to unemployed graduates and recent matriculants who may also be living with physical disabilities.

Shaiden Obermeyer, 19, who is living with epilepsy, is a student enrolled in an entrepreneurship programme at IVS. She never thought she’d be an intern at Jafri’s company. Obermeyer, who heard about IVS programmes through a friend, said after completing the course, she intends to try out for a beauty course, as she hopes to start her own beauty business.

Obermeyer said: “I feel motivated. I am involved in a one-year course called New Venture Creation, where we get taught on entrepreneurship: how to start a business, what channels to use and how to grow a business.

“I will combine both lessons to make my brainchild a success. Coming from a community where the youth are consumed by drugs and teenage pregnancy, I’m learning a lot through this programme. We cover business management, marketing skills, business ethics and business finance management. A bit of hard work with skills combined should have me on the right track to start something that has the potential to grow,” she said.

Another student, 23-year-old Tazlyn Pereira from Eldorado Park, who is enrolled in the programme, said: “I am doing the Technical Support Learnership through IVS, I’ve been here for five months and it’s been great. Because I struggle with eyesight, I am glad that my disability is not an issue here as they give us equal opportunities.

“Unfortunately I don’t have any experience, so I’m willing to take any opportunity that comes my way in order to gain experience. One of the important things I’ve learned is that social inclusion of people living with disabilities is important and this programme is a step in that direction.” she said.





African News Agency