Cape Town

SAYes is a nonprofit working to support and assist teenagers with the transition of living in children homes to moving into the big world, they mentor and guide them to succeed.


At the age of 18, youth in South Africa’s children’s homes are no longer allowed government care and must begin to fend for themselves. They are faced with complex challenges such as finding and maintaining employment and housing, managing personal finances and advancing their education. Not to mention, deeply personal obstacles such as developing healthy relationships and maintaining their physical and mental well-being.

SAYes facilitates mentoring for youth living in Cape Town children’s homes who are preparing to transition into life as independent adults.

The SAYes programme is designed to optimize the impact of mentoring, with the aim of creating sustainable social change and eliminating inequality. SAYes believes that effective mentoring has the power to guide young people through this difficult transition so they can thrive as independent adults.

“Our philosophy is that effective mentoring goes beyond teaching someone a few things. It introduces entirely new ways of thinking, new ways of approaching challenges, new people and networks. This sharing of knowledge and social capital promotes equality and fosters healthy sustainable communities.” – Michelle Potter, co-founder and executive director, SAYes Mentoring

There are roughly 350 young people ages 14 to 18 who live in Cape Town children’s homes. The goal of SAYes is to reach all of them but to do so, the organization needs more volunteer mentors. Currently, SAYes serves roughly one-fourth of those young people.

“Each February, at the start of the programme, SAYes matches each volunteer mentor with a mentee. Mentors and mentees then meet one hour a week for nine months. Throughout that time period, SAYes provides a proven, evidence-based mentorship training and development program to guide and support the mentor/mentee relationship. SAYes also provides a supportive ecosystem of specialized staff and resources.”

One example of a recent SAYes success story is a mentee who learned about cycling from his mentor and eventually trained for the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Another mentee was recently accepted to Stellenbosch University to pursue a career in finance, and another is working at a luxury Cape Town hotel, pursuing her dream culinary career.

“Through the SAYes programme I’ve learned that, for young people like me who have been through hardships and struggles, there is always a new opportunity around the corner. If one door closes, another one always opens.” – Sandrine Tshikuna, SAYes Mentee

Mentors develop genuine, rewarding relationships with young people in their communities and broaden their own perspectives.

SAYes is accepting volunteer mentor applications now through to January 2018 for the 2018 programme. If you are interested in becoming a SAYes mentor, please register for an upcoming information session by visiting:, or contact SAYes by email:, or phone: +27 (0) 21-830-0795.

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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