Fund-raising initiative to train ex-cons for the hospitality industry

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A crowd-funding initiative has been launched to raise money to train formerly incarcerated women who want to better their lives and equip themselves with the skills they need to thrive as they re-enter society.

The Beyond Bars Academia (BBA) pre-employment programme was created to give these women hope through their specialised‚ sponsored hospitality training. The program gives them the qualifications they need to enter the job market.

It is a hospitality school for rehabilitating women. The bigger plan is to establish a Technical and Vocational Education and Training college and reach a bigger number of women.

“Crime is a never ending problem in South Africa‚ and one of the biggest obstacles to reducing the rate of crime lies in the fact that many criminals return to crime after being released.

“I grew up in a rough neighbourhood; I know firsthand what the lack of opportunities does to people: desperate conditions‚ often calls for desperate measures. When your only option to survive is to take the bad path‚ it is often difficult to get out of it‚” said Stephanie Simbo‚ BBA chief executive officer.

She said she started the project when she was only ten years old.

“The only cultural and skills centre in my neighbourhood closed‚ leaving all those kids with nothing to do but selling drugs again. I went home and started drawing and writing on how I could open my own‚ and provide the same services‚” she said.

Through this she wants to say that though society “may have failed you‚ but I won’t. 20 years after‚ I was feeling ready to put that project to life".

The BBA institute offers training‚ accommodation and an apprenticeship salary.

“More than a linear approach‚ our training is based on five different pillars: Theory and practice‚ cross disciplinary education‚ Life skills and our give back to the community scheme‚” she said.

The school has managed to raise R46‚120 of their R270‚000 target.

Visit

https://www.thundafund.com/project/beyondbars to donate.

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