Youth employment organisation Lulaway's social impact division Lulalab Foundation has developed a youth employment initiative that trains youths to assemble, install and maintain gravity-fed solar geysers that are made from recycled materials in informal settlements.
The pilot phase of the Letsatsi Water Project led to 30 households in the informal settlement of Hopefield, in Soweto, having these geysers installed.
The project creates sustainable employment and provides sustainable and free hot water to disadvantaged communities.
The idea is to use a simple solar-powered plastic geyser made from empty plastic bottles and other recyclable materials. This way, households in the informal settlements will have a free supply of warm water that does not use fossil fuels and does not require ongoing electricity or installation fees.
"By training youth to assemble, install and maintain solar geysers across these households, the youth gain an income and increase their employability. By using recycled materials that can easily be sourced, these geysers can be produced in large numbers at an affordable cost, thus providing our communities with warm water for washing," says Lulalab Foundation CEO Errol Freeman.
"With youth unemployment on the rise, plastic waste entering the environment and a lack of skills keeping our youth out of the labour market, South Africa was facing multiple crises before the Covid-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues to ravage the economy, the vulnerable youth and women living in the informal settlements are bearing the brunt of the damage.
"A lack of access to warm water and basic sanitation makes it more difficult for communities to follow the Covid-19 guidelines, leading to a spread of the infection in these communities and further job losses and instability."
“With the successful execution of the pilot project, the second phase will be implemented to scale the project to transform sanitary conditions in informal settlements and upskill the youth and create micro-entrepreneurs. Our next step is to secure corporate social investment so youth and communities can get the benefit of this initiative,” adds Freeman.