The Message Trust’s new Reintegration Programme held a ‘Speak Out’ event on the 8th of December, where several of the young men in the programme presented eye-opening and challenging speeches.
When these guys first entered the programme in September, a majority of them were unable to write a speech. They struggled to express themselves, write grammatically, and find the confidence to speak in front of even a handful of people. With the help from some of our team members, they learned the ins-and-outs of public speaking. Afterwards, they were given the opportunity to write their own speeches to be presented to the community.
The speeches delivered at Speak Out were a testament to how the Reintegration Programme has quickly grown these men and given them the confidence to speak out. Their stories were challenging as we heard about the struggles of violence, gangsterism, crime, and the impact of having such a fatherless nation.
These young men (and so many others) have powerful stories to share and it’s time that we, as a nation, start listening. We are excited for more Speak Out events to happen in the future. Don’t miss out on the next one – the impact of their words is something no person should go without experiencing!
The Reintegration Programme officially launched on Monday, 18 September with a group of 10 men freshly out of prison, excited to change their lives and learn how to be urban heroes in their communities. These men, once convicted of crimes, are now convicted with the desire to not only empower themselves, but to help empower young people in their communities to make healthy life choices instead of destructive ones. One by one, they stood in front of us and expressed their desires to make a difference and live a positive, purpose-filled life.
Here in South Africa, it costs the Department of Correctional Services around R10,000 a month to keep one person incarcerated and 7 out of 10 end up returning to prison after their release. By helping young men successfully reintegrate back into society, this programme can not only help the government and society save money, but help them contribute and give back to their families, communities, and nation.
For 3 months, these men will be involved in intensive, holistic training, to help prepare them for a successful life outside of prison. They will be learning life-skills such as budgeting, setting and reaching goals, responsibility and accountability, job readiness, and much more. With weekly evaluations, mentorship, and discipleship, we want to help them build a foundation of stability, as well as empower them with the resources to be able to stay on track and not allow negative influences to pull them back into their past. In partnership with local companies and NGO’s, we hope to provide them with interview experience and job opportunities after graduation. We are excited to follow their journey and see them become a solution to the problem they were once a part of within society.
Next month we will be starting a new initiative at The Message Trust. The Message Reintegration Programme is an extension of our Message Enterprise Programme in prison. Though the years we have seen the huge challenges many young men face once leaving prison. It’s not easy for someone to just get on with life after they have been institutionalized for so long behind bars.
Dysfunctional families, lack of employment opportunities, gang ridden environments and the stigma of a criminal record place place huge barriers in front of young men who want to leave a life of crime and gangsterism. This program will be inviting young men who want to grow in faith and life to participate in a three month training program that will equip them for life and the workplace.
At The Message the Reintegration Programme will facilitate change reintegration through the following:
Identify: We identify young men in and out of prison who have a intrinsic desire to change.
Platform: Once we identify these young men, we provide a platform for them to flourish in faith and life. We do this through a holistic 3 month discipleship curriculum including spiritual, economic, social and emotional development.
Mission: Through the platform each young man continues his journey in becoming a productive citizen that impacts his family, community and nation positively. This creates a ripple effect, where each young man inspires others through his own story of transformation.
If you would like to know more about the Reintegration Programme or recommend someone out of prison, please email [email protected] for more information
One of our enterprises at The Message Trust (The Soft Machine) were recently invited to a workshop held at Christel House High School in Cape Town. This invite was one which carved a significantexperience not only for business but for the students as they were given skills in building and running a successfulfood truck business.
FutureMe is a holistic, technology-enabled programme aimed at assisting high school learners to be work-ready when they leave school. The purpose of FutureMe is to assist young people in becoming more self-aware and confident; more aware and knowledgeable about subject, study and career choices and employment opportunities; and more prepared for, and effective in the working world. In this way, FutureMe intends to act as a bridge between youth and the working world. We are really passionate about addressing the youth unemployment crisis in South Africa, as well as the skills gaps in the working world.
We were there to share about The Soft Machine and the work we do as well as how these learners could empower themselves if they chose to take the path of running a food truck. The power in it all was the hunger for success we saw in the eyes of the young people at Christel House High school.
The most important part of the day was when MT shared his story with the students, many who are impacted daily by the negative cycle of gangsterism, crime and poverty. One of the grade 7 students said: “mam, just yesterday 6 of my friends became gangsters and now they want me to join too.” MT shared the realities of joining a gang and how this set him back for 13 years of his life. The students were eager to know how they can make a difference and where they could find help.
As we left Christel House High on the day we knew there is hope for our future and it lies in the hands of the young people in our country and it’s our duty to empower our youngsters and support their dreams. It’s the least we can do, but what’s more important is for any young person to know that you care.
Drakenstein Corrections Facility (DCS) was abuzz this past weekend as we came to the end of yet another fruitful year of the Message Enterprise program (MEP). The day had finally dawned for our students to be honored for all the hard work they put in throughout the year. This experience was momentous, as most of us had never worn an academic gown before, or even obtained any kind of qualification. It was so moving to see the excitement on the faces of the 1st year students as they were adorned with their gowns and handed their certificates. What was particularly poignant was that our families were invited to share in this special day, to witness their sons standing proudly in front of everyone, and be recognized for something so significant. Emotions were running high and joy was written on their faces as they saw their sons coming out in gowns……an amazing experience!
This reminded us why we do what we do. Seeing the smiles and the hope revived in the hearts of the parents was so fulfilling that words fail to adequately describe the impact it must have had on them. We are confident that the lives of these young men will never be the same again. The future looks promising and the world is full of opportunities for them.
In MEP these men are not only taught entrepreneurial skills. They are also equipped to become servant leaders in society, thus enabling them to return to their communities and become change agents and positive role models to their peers. This also helps prepare them for the working environment, and it is a real privilege to witness the change in these men. It energises and empowers us to do more; however, without you, none of what we hope to achieve will be possible.
We want to also take a moment to thank DCS for partnering with us, as well as all our contributors and supporters. Your support has helped save a young man’s life from a threatening lifestyle.
THE MESSAGE TRUST FAMILY WELCOMED DONOVAN NELSON INTO THE GANGSTAR ENTERPRISES TEAM ON THE 1ST OF AUGUST.
DONOVAN HAS BEEN EMPLOYED AS OUR GANGSTAR SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER AND WILL OVERSEE THE EXPANSION OF ALL OUR GANGSTAR BUSINESSES. WE ARE EXCITED TO WELCOME HIM ONTO THE TEAM!
1.Donovan welcome to The Message Trust! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Born and bred in Cape Town, in the heart of the new era just before South Africa’s first election; born to be a blessing and a song of the living God, Jesus Christ.
In March 2004, I experienced the presence of God like never before in my life and committed my ways to Him at a miracle crusade. My life then, only began. With a background in professional cookery and restaurant management, I love food. I think if eating was a ministry, I would be a food evangelist.
My family is my biggest support and my greatest motivation. My parents serve God and I have the honor of having them as my spiritual parents too. We love going out and experiencing new adventures. My brother, who is 13 years old, loves reading and we often spend time together by playing sports.
In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors and hiking, which I have come to understand brings you closer to God, through nature.
2.The four values of The Message Trust are passion, church, innovation & community. Tell us what you passionate about?
I am passionate about developing and cultivating young people. I believe one of the many gifts I have been graciously blessed with, is to unlock the potential and purpose within others. Many people recognised my own gift to speak and minister before I did.
3.Tell us a bit about your church?
I fellowship at Bezaleel Pentecostal Church, a small church of about 100 members in Lotus River, a community in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. My church has been in existence for over 40 years and has established four other branches in and around the Western Cape. The best way to describe my church is to think of a family that loves expressing their love for one another, that is my church.
4.Before joining us, you have been involved in some interesting community projects. What have you learned through this?
Community work is really hard work. With being involved in the community, it makes you realise how much work it really takes to bring people together for a common goal. One key lesson I have learnt, is probably from the ministry of Jesus. To get any community together, you need a formula. For me, that formula is food, fun and freedom.
5.The Message loves developing new innovative ways to reach youth – what was it that specifically attracted you to join The Message team?
I must be very honest and say that when I first found out about The Message, I thought that there is so much they can do, and that I would love to do with them. I then soon found out that I was the slow one, and that everything that I could think of, they had been already thinking of.
One aspect in particular was the MEP program. I think it is the best thing that has ever happened to our prisons in South Africa, and I can only see it growing to other prisons around the world.
6.If you could say one thing to the youth of South Africa what would you say?
Your vision is greater than you but it includes you. Find a greater cause to live for than just yourself.
ON THE 25TH OF FEBRUARY 2016 THE MESSAGE TRUST HELD IT’S THIRD ANNUAL VISION NIGHT. THE MESSAGE TRUST VISION NIGHT IS A YEARLY EVENT THAT SHARES STORIES AND UPDATES OF WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH THE ORGANISATION. ONE OF THE BIGGEST JOYS OF THIS YEAR’S EVENT WAS HAVING 21 STUDENTS FROM OUR MEP CLASS COME TO THE VISION NIGHT. OUR STUDENTS PERFORMED TWO SONGS WHICH DEEPLY MOVED OUR GUESTS ON THE EVENING. ANOTHER HIGHLIGHT WAS HAVING ONE OF OUR STUDENTS CLINTON LE ROE AS THE MASTER OF CEREMONIES (MC) FOR THE EVENT.
HERE IS HIS EXPERIENCE OF VISION NIGHT IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“The man who fails, to fail, to failure, stands up and embarks on the journey of a thousand miles. On vision night I felt as if I reached my destination and stepped into my future. It was all playing out before my very eyes, many people listening to me, the guy with the mic. Never before have I been received by such a great audience as the guests who were at vision night. It was my first time to play the role of MC to such a large group of people. All I could see on the night was a dream coming true and despite my current status (of being a prisoner) I was not shaken or moved by fear, I accepted the challenge and faced every listener. It was an opportunity to show case the potential and gift God has placed in me.
I was humbled to be placed on such a platform receiving the respect of so many big names and people from abroad. One of my biggest highlights was being able to share the stage with Angus Buchan and knowing that my mentors at The Message Trust had my back.
The Message Trust has become my window of opportunity and given me a second chance to rectify my wrongs. I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of Vision Night and what God allows me to step into, it’s shows his amazing favour upon my life.
The future leaders and our MEP class performed fantastically on the night and were a massive source of strength to me, they are my brothers in arms”.
Written by Clinton Le Roe – MEP Student and MC on our Message Trust Vision Night.
Meet the newest member of The Message Team Ruan Toua.
Ruan has been employed as our Gangstar Enterprises manager and will oversee all our Gangstar Apprentices and Employees at The Message.
We are excited to welcome him onto the team!
1. Ruan welcome to The Message Trust! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I have two amazing parents and a younger brother, and grew up in the northern suburbs, Parow. As a family we love camping and have been camping for as long as I can remember. I have always been very technically minded and love gadgets and building just about anything. I grew up in the NG church, and gained a lot of bible knowledge. I love spending my free time playing rugby or squash but mostly spending time in nature doing something that gets my adrenaline going!
The four values of The Message Trust are passion, church, innovation & community.
2.Tell us what you’re passionate about?
To be a Warrior for God. To grow His kingdom.
I have a massive heart for people and have always found people interesting, especially the uniqueness of every individual. I love working with people reaching out to others whether it’s in a group or as an individual. I have a strong background in teambuilding and love to watch the dynamics of a group. Teambuilding is my absolute passion, as I love games and seeing people have fun, learn and overcome obstacles.
I have a great passion for evangelism and outreach, as well as shepherding and developing others to be able to carry over what they have learned. I am involved in a number of ministries such as Straatwerk, Prison Ministry and CBMC (Christian Business Man Connection).
The Lord has laid on my heart to purse unity in South Africa through encouraging one another and mentorship. As the future of South Africa, our youth have a critical role to play in uniting our culturally diverse country. I believe that the diversity of our culture holds the potential of South Africa as our greatest asset. We have a lot of groups doing their own thing but we need to unite in God’s presence and fight the good fight together.
3.Tell us a bit about your church?
Urban Edge in Durbanville is my church community and spiritual anchor. The church has such a powerful vision which is “Connecting people to people and people to God”.
I am part of a Connect Group, and serve often. From the first moment, I have felt absolutely welcome at this church.
4.You mentioned you are from Panorama what does community mean to you?
I have moved around a lot which means that I have developed a broad perspective for community. My church is in Durbanville, Straatwerk is on the streets of Cape Town, CBMC is in Bellville and Kraaifontein, therefore community means “unity” for “the broad circles” I live in, to come together, to develop and thrive for the Kingdom of God. South Africa is my “Community” and I believe in the unity of this amazing country.
.The Message loves developing new innovative ways to reach youth – what was it that specifically attracted you to join The Message team?
Prison ministry; I wasn’t aware that The Message was working in the same prison that I was volunteering at, as a facilitator for the Alpha Coarse (at Drakenstein).
What stood out for me the most was Christ Centered Enterprise, incorporated with the goal of ‘Raising up generations of Urban Heroes’ by the joint effort of the 4 streams in The Message.
As an evangelist you often get faced with the question: “What happens when the Individual in prison gets saved? What type of support does someone that lives in poverty have that can help them grow to become the man that God wants him to be, rather than ‘back-sliding’ due to surrounding peoples influences and circumstances?”
A question that I asked myself so many times has been “What can I do to make a difference? What can I do to create more support for someone that comes out of prison or lives on the streets?”
One thing led to another, (“a chain of unexplainable coincidences”) and the Lord led me to The Message Trust, while I was doing prison ministry with Alpha.
6.If you could say one thing to the youth of South Africa what would you say?
You are the Future! No one can make a difference alone, but with God as our center and guide, together – “we can do this”!