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A significant percentage of young people within Southern Africa do not have the financial capacity or the necessary results to move into university studies once they finish school. This is exacerbated among orphaned and vulnerable youth who not only have no financial backing from parents, but also have significant learning gaps as a result of their often traumatic lives and thus cannot qualify for university.

As we at Home-Base have been working with young people and talking to child-care organisations across the region, we have realised the huge need for training that is practical in nature, is of a high standard and which prepares young people to both enter the world of work and to create their own paths through entrepreneurship.

Although the emphasis of The Work-Base Academy is vocational training, we integrate this with life skills and character development, work-based experience, entrepreneurship and ongoing support.

We will create a number of Schools within the Academy that focus on different areas of vocational training. The first school opening in July 2017 is the School of Hospitality, under the oversight of Chef Ben Harvey.

For more info, please contact Dennis Neville at dennis@home-base.org

Volunteers at Home-Base

Volunteering at Home-Base is lots of fun. There are may opportunities for volunteers to get involved. If you are interested in finding out more details, contact Dennis at homebasegp@gmail.com for more info on our Volunteers Tea on Saturday 18 February from 9 – 11 am.



2017 is off to a good start!

Home-Base is buzzing with anticipation of what 2017 has in store!  All our students will be progressing to their next level and we want to congratulate them on their good results.

We would also like to congratulate Thando Phello for matriculating with a BA Degree pass. Well done, Thando! Thando is enrolled for a business management diploma at Rosebank college. He is a true entrepreneur in the making and we are looking forward to seeing him grow.


Press on towards the goal


Photo courtesy of Jake Hill (unsplash.com)

“Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up.  That’s the heart of it really.  Just keep trying.” (Bear Grylls)

This is a time of year when people often feel overwhelmed, tired and that things are out of control. This is also a time when the many young people we work with are stressed and about to start exams. In Hebrews 12:1 we read that “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2). I would encourage every one reading this to strengthen your resolve at this time – to be a survivor, to be an overcomer – to finish the race! Trust God for the strength to do so. Trust Him for wisdom for the exams. Put in the hard work of the daily grind. Never, ever, give up.

The video below challenges us to keep pressing towards our goals.






Choosing a Career – STEM Careers

Technology defining our lives (Photo by Angeline Gragasin, Creative Commons)

Technology defining our lives (Photo by Angeline Gragasin, Creative Commons)

“What you’re really supposed to be doing is whatever makes your heart sing.” (Barbara Sher)

Young people today are faced with thousands of possible careers which they can explore. It is both an exciting time to be young (there are so many journeys they can take) but also incredibly daunting (how can they choose from so many possible careers). We live in a world which is technologically rich. We have so much information at our fingertips, search engines that can find information from all over the world and content pouring into our lives from every side. How can we make sense of this all? When choosing a career, how do we narrow down our choices?

This brief blog post touches on a growing and increasingly important area of careers – careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. These STEM careers are generally recognized as careers which have more earning potential than other kind of careers – you can make more money in these careers – and owing to the demand for people in these careers, the amount of jobs available is increasing exponentially – you can get work in these areas. A recent Huffington Post article put it this way: “Three things are true in STEM: There are a lot of job openings. These jobs pay well. And there are not enough qualified people to fill these jobs.” In other words, the potential for career and financial success is huge if you enter one of these fields. The US Department for Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55% faster than non-STEM jobs over the next 10 years.

If you (or your child) have a natural curiosity concerning how things work and you find yourself asking a lot of questions about how things are designed, how things are made and a keen interest in technology, STEM careers are something that you should explore further.

This is a field full of opportunities and an exciting field to explore. The following short video from the UK paints a good picture of the huge potential of these fields:

In the following four weeks, I will be tackling each of these STEM areas: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers in more detail. Please let me know if you have questions about these kind of ideas that I can answer for you by emailing me on dennis@home-base.org

Strength for your journey towards your goals

The Journey By Gary Todoroff

Photo courtesy of Gary Todoroff – Used with permission. All rights reserved.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” (Ernest Hemingway)

A young man, walking down a rural road at the start of a day. He walks with purpose, with a set aim in mind. He is a young man who walks 6 km to school every day. Mxolisi lives in a rural homestead and each morning, like thousands of other young people across southern Africa, takes a long journey to school. The inspirational thing about Mxolisi is that he does this every day because he is determined to have a better future. He wants to study medicine and his determination each day to get to school, despite the distance, despite rain and cold, is a measure of his determination to attain his career goals. He has set himself a goal and this goal helps him to push through on a daily basis.

Keep walking towards your goals

I am sure that many of you, like myself, set goals for 2014. These may have been goals for your personal growth, career growth, for your physical development, for your family or for your finances. How are you doing with pushing through to attain these? I would encourage you to revisit these goals, to consider what progress you have made and to think about where you have fallen short. Using the picture of Mxolisi, we can either sit down, tired, next to the road and give up on that goal, or we can pick ourselves up, remind ourselves of why we set that goal in the first place and then head towards that goal once again. I have had to do this with several elements of my life. These last two months have been very busy and my New Year’s resolution of going to gym on a regular basis has fallen by the wayside. I am now faced with a choice – I can either admit defeat and give up on that goal (this is the easier route) or I can grab hold of that goal and take one step in that direction by setting gym into my schedule and sticking to this.

Keep walking

For some of the students that I am working with the reality of school has started to set in. Where they started the year with hopes of excelling, the reality of subjects that they are grappling with is threatening to drag them down. Mathematics seems to be a particularly difficult subject and faced with daily battles to keep up and understand all that is covered that day, the natural response is to give up. Fear starts to take root – fear that they will fail, fear that they have made the wrong subject choices, fear that they will not amount to much, fear that the year will be a waste. The challenge with fear is that it is paralyzing. Fear kills action. Fear destroys hope. Fear makes us stand still or even turn back. Faced with fear we have one of two choices – we can run from the fear or we can face it and walk through it.

As I contemplated these challenges, I was reminded of one of my favorite Bible verses from 2 Timothy 1:7. This reads as follows: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” This verse clearly says that we are not meant to walk in fear. It declares that this spirit is not one that has to imprison us, disempower us or paralyze us. Instead, God promises that He has given us:

  • A spirit of love: He loves us and cares for us because of who we are, and not because of what we do. He cares for us as a person and not because of how we are doing at maths. We are called to carry this love into the world around us – bringing hope instead of fear, joy instead of despair.
  • Of power: Although we can try to create our own success, we are truly successful when we rest in His power and not our own. He has given us power to overcome – to overcome our challenges and hurdles – even mathematics. His power goes beyond our natural abilities. We need to be asking Him to give us power to reach our goals, to overcome our obstacles and to keep walking.
  • Of a sound mind: Fear brings confusion and despair. God has promised us a sound mind. This means that not only can our thinking be clear, but that as the creator of the universe and the creator of each of us, He can give us the ability to reason and understand, even the complex things of mathematics and science.

Take one step

Our response to failure or to fear needs to be – keep walking. Mxolisi keeps walking towards his future. Will you do the same? As the quote by Hemingway indicates, life is about the journey. Pause, reflect, enjoy the journey, but make sure you are going somewhere by taking the next step.

What will you decide to do? All it takes is one step – one step towards a solution, one step towards asking for help, one step towards a preferable future. Will you take that one step? What will it be?


Walking in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela

Home-Base kids at Nelson Mandela Square

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

(Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom)

We recently had the opportunity to take our three Home-Base young people to see the statue of Nelson Mandela in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. Standing at his feet was an inspiring moment for all of us as we thought about the life he lived and the greatness Nelson Mandela inspired in others. This led me to think about the life of Nelson Mandela. He lived the above words. He conquered the fear that could have held him back – that could have prevented him from seeing his dream of a democratic South Africa from becoming a reality. Our challenge to young people who are part of our Home-Base residential programme and those whom we encounter in schools as we do career workshops, is to live a full life, to not allow fear of the unknown, fear of failure or fear of the future to hold one back. We are called to live full lives. We are called to live lives of purpose and meaning, not just to run through life like a hamster on a treadmill.

As we took the journey last week it really struck me how important it is to learn from others. This is why I strongly recommend to young people that they read a lot. I encourage young people to read biographies of people they admire. There is so much we can learn and apply in our own lives. Nelson Mandela’s life, for example, has so many important lessons for each of us. His book, Long Walk to Freedom,  offers some incredible lessons. I also recently enjoyed reading a book on his life, called Mandela’s Way which provided some thought provoking insights on who Nelson Mandela was as well as what shaped him.

As you journey through this week, recognize that:

1. Your journey is unique – enjoy it and explore what God has for you

2. Learn from others – Learn from those who have gone before you and learnt the lessons of the past, learn from others in the career you are interested in, read and explore as widely as possible.

3. Be true to yourself – Be true to who you are. Stretch yourself where you need to be stretched. Ask yourself the really hard questions. But in all of this, be true to who you are – not who others want you to be, not to who society expects you to be, but to who God has created you to be.

Enjoy the adventure!

Update: 2014 has started with adventure


Our Home-Base young people have now joined us and are settling in well in our two cottages. They have enjoyed getting to explore the dynamic city of Johannesburg and have met many fantastic new people and hopefully new friends. Their journey began with a two week orientation period where we worked with them to help them adapt to their new environment and to city life. This is the start of their new adventure. We value your prayers and support as we dive into 2014.