South Africa grapples with a daunting challenge – soaring youth unemployment rates that touch over 60 percent among 15 to 34-year-olds. It’s a problem that threatens not just the individuals but the entire nation’s economic well-being. Amid this crisis, one non-profit organization, Harambee, has emerged as a beacon of hope, dedicated to addressing this pressing issue head-on. But they’re not alone in this mission. LGT Venture Philanthropy stands shoulder to shoulder with Harambee, offering more than just financial support. In this article, we’ll explore how Harambee’s innovative strategy, coupled with the commitment of individuals like Nhlanhla Junior Ngulube and Lutho Mbonambi through the LGT Impact Fellowship, is making a profound impact on youth unemployment and sustainability in South Africa.

Harambee’s Evolution: Harambee’s journey started with a focus on helping young people secure their first jobs. However, with time, they recognized the need to equip youth with the tools to start their own businesses. Nhlanhla Junior Ngulube, a dynamic 32-year-old with a background in business administration and international relations, played a pivotal role in reshaping Harambee’s strategy. His journey began when he stumbled upon the LGT Impact Fellowship program. These fellowships, designed for professionals with an average of six years of experience seeking to give their careers deeper meaning, offered a bridge between his corporate background and his desire for social change. For Ngulube, joining Harambee was the perfect match.

Driving Change through Expertise: During his fellowship, Ngulube conducted a comprehensive analysis of South Africa’s micro-enterprise landscape. This deep dive opened his eyes to the vast opportunities beyond formal employment. It became the cornerstone of Harambee’s new strategy – supporting young entrepreneurs in the informal sector. His knowledge, experience, and professional network were invaluable to Harambee, earning praise from Sharmi Surianarain, Harambee’s Chief Impact Officer. After the fellowship, Ngulube continued his journey with Harambee, emphasizing the long-term impact of his work.

A Ripple Effect: Inspired by successful pilot studies, Ngulube is now working alongside Lutho Mbonambi, his successor in the LGT Fellowship program. Mbonambi, equipped with a master’s degree in economic development and prior consulting and entrepreneurial experience, was driven by the desire to address the glaring social inequality and opportunity divide in South Africa. Her association with Harambee through the LGT Impact Fellowship has provided her with a springboard to contribute meaningfully to her society.

A Unique Leadership Style: Mbonambi is struck by Harambee’s unique leadership style, one that values personal and professional development without aggression. She sees this as a valuable lesson for her own career path. Beyond personal growth, the LGT Impact Fellowship leaves a lasting impact on professionals like Mbonambi and Ngulube. It redirects their careers towards socially relevant endeavors, enhancing Harambee’s capabilities. Additionally, the fellowship nurtures a global network of like-minded individuals, fostering a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect among LGT Impact Fellows.

Harambee’s commitment to combatting youth unemployment in South Africa, combined with the support of organizations like LGT Venture Philanthropy and dedicated individuals like Nhlanhla Junior Ngulube and Lutho Mbonambi, offers a beacon of hope for the nation’s youth. Their stories show that when driven individuals unite with purpose-driven organizations, they can drive change that transcends individual success to benefit entire communities and nations. Through this synergy, they are creating a more sustainable and equitable future for South Africa.

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