Most of the street kids in South Africa are there as a result of poverty, neglect and violence. “Many of the kids at the school have faced things like poverty, social dysfunction, and rejection from the community” said Helene Smit, Founder of Prince Albert Skills School.
Smit realised that destitute children from her hometown, Prince Albert had nowhere else to turn to so she opened the Prince Albert Skills School in 2017 with only 13 boys from the street. They teach students how to weld, how to manage a garden, cook, woodwork, building and plumbing among others.
“We aim to develop their skills by supporting them psychologically and teaching them technical skills but there are no quick fixes when trying to make a lasting difference”.She highlighted that this can be an emotional process because they work with people who’ve been traumatised and it takes time to get that trauma out of their system. Smit’s previous work in psychology and education influences her holistic approach to the children’s growth.
Prince Albert Skills School does not only provide the means of earning an income, but it also prepares them for a life off the streets. Even in the face of seemingly hopeless circumstances, Smit and her team have confidence in the children and believe in them.