Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Skill Shortage + Employment Opportunities = Success

 Notes of meeting with President W
on Tuesday, April, 11, 2012

                                “Skill shortage + Employment Opportunities = Success”

            The end of apartheid brought a serious brain drain to Port Elizabeth and every where else in South Africa. There is serious shortage of skilled workers here. Many teachers, doctors, engineers and other whites have move to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.  When apartheid ended white people left this country in droves.  Some affluent blacks moved into the Lorraine area.  Both P.E. wards lost lots of members.  Membership in Lorraine Ward is now 150.  Less than 50 people attend regularly.

            A senior couple came to P.E. three years ago.  They went all over the stake helping students apply for PEF loans.  Many kids had no idea what they wanted to do.  They got PEF loans and took the classes that friends had recommended.  Many dropped out.  Those who graduated could not  fine jobs.  Many did not repay their loans and stopped attending church because they were embarrassed about defaulting.  The stake has more defaults than the other stakes.  They finds embarrassing.  

            P.E. has a program in place now to prevent this from happening again.  President W. works closely with a committee that approves PEF loans.   Bishops are willing to have us present PEF firesides.  Otherwise the stake or Johannesberg will take care of everything.  Sister V  has been called to supervise the  “Planning for Success” teachers.  She has been very busy working in her husband’s business and  has not done anything since being called.  All the teachers have been called and there is one for each building.  The stake would just like us to conduct the PEF Firesides as everything else is in place.  Consequently our only responsibility we have is the firesides each year in P.E., Grahamstown, Port Alfred,  and George, collect paperwork and close out the loans.  
President W’s assessment of the situation:

            The youth in black townships have unrealistic expectations about what kind of jobs they can get.  They all want to go to college and get white collar jobs.  They expect to have things just handed to them and do not want to get their hands dirty.  They are lazy and have little direction or motivation. 

          Many people in Kwanobuhle 1 and 2 need work badly.  Brother V., employment specialist, may be helping them out there.  Pres. W. feels that the  blacks could advance under the present government easier than the whites can but the blacks are lazy and seldom follow thru.  He claims reverse discrimination against whites.  Says that a white man is passed over in favor of a black.  Case in point:  His highly skilled brother cannot find a job.  Whenever his brother applies for a job it's the black, less skilled applicant that is hired.  (Our neighbor, the police man, verified this.  Said he is still on entry level after 10 years in the P.E. police force.)

            General Motors left P.E and moved their plant because the employees demanded high wages and more benefits.  Technical skills are needed but black youths in local townships all want white collar jobs.  But this is not where the demand lies.  Sister K. has two catalogues of trade schools where students may attend to qualify for the jobs available in P.E. now.  The Blacks in the townships may go to the nearby Volkswagon plant and wait for day work which earns them 10 Rand daily.  (a little over $1.00).  Not much but more than paying for a taxi to bring them to P.E.

            President P. suggested that we direct our efforts toward helping blacks qualify for bursaries which do not need to be repaid.  These government scholarships go to bright students so they can attend a university without cost.  Blacks are admitted into medical school with a significantly lower score on entrance exams than the whites under the Affirmative Action so many blacks cannot succeed at the University level.  President P. thinks Tom and I should look for bursary candidates and then help them to apply and get admitted to programs.  But then there is still the problem of getting to class as it's too far to walk and they cannot afford transport.  This is interesting information from the stake we serve considering we are PEF missionaries with a mandate to promote that program.  

 Sister S. Notes, 
  Tom spent weeks putting his PEF Power Point Fireside presentation together and it crashed twice. Elder Sutherland and Critchfield came over to help.  Southerland's father owns a computer company.  He was able to post my Smileboxes to this blog but could not find Tom's Presentations.  Looks like we will have to call Gary Laaks from the stake again.  (He owns a computer company and has been here twice resolving our problems without compensation.)   Internet was down for three days over the Easter Weekend.  I told Tom I did not think they could justify billing us for service since it's down so often. Is there something we don't know?  The Elders stopped in again and we learned that we need to reboot our router when it goes out, usually after a storm.  Tom has finally figured out how to use our cell phone.  I'm still have problems getting it to lock so I can answer a call. Our Fax machine will send but we cannot receive.  (Laak discovered that one problem was the new phone which was defective and had to be taken back.)  The fax is still not work properly.  

On April 30th we discovered that Tom's e-mail account had been hijacked.  Before it was closed,  I retrieve all his e-mail to my brother-in-law Everett Young and posted it to the for safe keeping.  After a sincere prayer, Elder Stokoe finally got his Power Point Presentation up and running and we have done three PEF Firesides and sat in on one "Planning for Success" Workshop.   We have two more workshops each week through the month of May.  We do not teach any classes, only assist and answer questions.  Since all the students come hungry after a day of working,school walking several miles to the church Tom has decided his role here is to feed them. He is planning on egg sandwiches for the workshops on Thursday and Friday.

It bothers Tom to tell people that only "temple worthy" people can qualify for a PEF loan.  Many are poor and unemployed.  President Wood cannot divide the huge black wards in the Townships because of a lack of Melchizedek priesthood holders and the people do not pay tithing.  Many are uneducated and have no way to improve their situation.  One third of the people in South Africa are unemployed.  Over half the youth are without jobs and could not sustain themselves if they were given a PEF loan as it covers only books and tuition.  Some  students stopped attending and dropped out because they could not get to school.  Since we were called to serve here,  It looks like my role is cheerleaders.  To love and encourage.  I thought I would come to South Africa and be "Casandra Barbe" by volunteering for everything.  I've since discovered that I'm Carol Jarvis -- trying to uplift, encourage, and support.

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