Global Reach: South Africa

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South Africa
Year Work
Total Funds
Invested To Date


EMpower focuses on Education, Health and Wellbeing and Livelihoods and supports organizations based in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. South Africa has a population of 51.7 million, with young people aged 10-24 representing 29% of the population.

Issues affecting Youth

Poor quality education and increased rates of high school drop-out

South Africa’s high school drop-out rate is 45%, with many pupils not acquiring foundational skills in numeracy and literacy. Studies have shown that South African mathematics teachers have below-basic levels of content knowledge with high proportions of teachers being unable to answer questions aimed at their pupils.

HIV/AIDS prevalence

UNAID estimates that one in five South Africans are HIV positive (6.3 million people)There are approximately 6.3million people living with HIV or AIDS in South Africa, 360,000 of whom are children and another another 3.5 million of whom are women. 9% of South African youth are living with HIV or AIDS, with 14% of young women and 4% of young men infectedYouth prevalence rate is 9%, with 14% of young women infected and only 4% of young men. Over half of South African’s orphan population of 4 million orphans are orphaned due to HIV.


There are high levels of violent crime, including sexual violence, across South Africa. 22% of high school learners have been threatened with violence or have been the victim of an assault at a school within one year. Studies have shown a link between South African youth living in a context fraught with violence, crime and various forms of abuse in South Africa, and the development of chronic toxic stress believed to be caused by almost constant fear and anxiety.


In South Africa the country-wide unemployment rate is 24%, with youth unemployment at 64%. Statistics highlight large disparities in unemployment rates by education level and population group.

Our Approach to tackling the Issues

  • EMpower supports local organizations that:
  • Provide after-school tutoring.
  • Invest in understanding better which types of employability and vocational skills training work better for youth.
  • Strengthen young people’s skills and capacities for increased resilience.
  • Help young people affected by chronic trauma lead productive, independent lives.

Other countries in Africa:

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.