DSD Youth Café’s


LifeXchange has been working in partnership with the Department of Social Development (DSD) for several years, implementing mentoring processes within their flagship youth strategy: Youth Café’s. These safe spaces in identified communities are designed to provide a place for disillusioned youth to come, feel empowered and learn skills that will ultimately help them to find their place in society and start them on a career path. LifeXchange and the DSD see that mentorship plays a critical role in the success of these efforts, encouraging every young person to take hold of the opportunities offered at their local Youth Café, as well as provide them with a stable adult who can inspire and encourage them in very practical ways by showing them what a healthy life, family, work and community can look like.


To equip staff at all ten DSD Youth Café sites in the Western Cape to be able to implement mentoring for the youth attending their establishment.

Who are the mentees?

The mentees are youth attending their local Youth Café based in various high-risk communities across the Western Cape, aged 16-35. These youth have either dropped out of school, or are unemployed and lack hope, vision and purpose for their lives.

Who are the mentors?

The mentors can either be Youth Café staff or committed local adult volunteers who have a passion for seeing young people grow and develop into healthy, pro-social adults living purposeful lives in their communities.

What is the nature of the mentoring sessions?

Under their own direction, mentors and mentees will meet face-to-face for 80 sessions. Each contact session is at least one hour and occurs at least once a week. The duration of the mentoring relationships should last between 18-24 months. LifeXchange will provide ongoing support throughout the entire mentoring journey for both parties involved.

Benefits for Mentees

The project will build resilience in many areas of their lives, as well as educational competence, social skills, life skills and general support in order to bring about sustainable transformational growth geared towards purposeful living.

Benefits for Mentors

The project will provide volunteers with the satisfaction of making a significant impact, leaving a legacy and a better understanding of the community. Mentors may also experience personal growth in their own lives through becoming a role model and strengthening their own resilience.