They often had no access to books and used to travel a long way to go to a library, said Robert Michel, executive director of the Outreach Foundation.

“When we asked both our staff and the youth what was needed in the area, everyone said a library.

“We were happy to oblige and thanks to generous support from the Vodacom Foundation we now have a beautiful library and ICT.

“The youth now have a place where they can read, do research for projects both through books and online, type up their projects and complete their homework.

“Also, our library staff are eager to help and inspire them,” he said.

The Vodacom Foundation has also placed Puseletso Phoofolo, a Vodacom Change the World Volunteer, with the Hillbrow youth for one year.

The volunteer will work full-time in the centre and assist the youth with homework, research, job applications and more.

The new library was opened on March 23 by Lindiwe Madumo, who represented the department of basic education, on behalf of the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.

GROWING POTENTIAL: Lindiwe Madumo with Ethel Munyai.

“As she cut the ribbon, the hordes of youth and their parents who were eagerly waiting to see the new library, quickly went in and excitedly looked at the rows of books on the shelves before settling down to listen to the opening speeches,” he said.

Michel also thanked a variety of donors across Gauteng.

He specifically thanked Rotary Bedfordview and Northcliff High School.

Ethel Munyai, the programme manager for Outreach Foundation’s Youth Centre, said the space was also important as it would get children off the streets, especially during school holidays and get them reading, an essential skill that will empower them to reach their full potential.

Entrance to the library is free to the children of the area, and they are encouraged to respect the rules of the library, be considerate to others, practice good manners and respect the books.

KEY TO THE FUTURE: The Outreach Foundation Youth Centre Library’s ICT Centre. The youth now have a place where they can do research for projects online, type projects and complete homework. Staff are eager to help.

The Outreach Foundation offers support and development to people living in the inner city of Joburg and beyond.

Through skills development, advocacy and arts enrichment programmes, the foundation seeks to inspire creative and empowering journeys for all looking to achieve their full potential.

For more information about Outreach Foundation or to help us with our work in urban communities, please go to www.outreachfoundation.co.za