As a big part of South Africa, young people are at the heart of the country. Young people between the ages of 15 and 35 years constitute about 66% of the total population (Stats SA, Mid-Year population estimate, 2015). South Africa’s youth faces significant challenges such as high unemployment rates, high HIV infection rates, and limited access to further education and training. The challenges that the youth faces exacerbated by the increase in youth headed households mainly as a result of the consequences of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.
Heartbeat was founded in 2000 by Professor Sunette Pienaar in response to the socio economic impact of HIV/AIDS pandemic on communities and specifically on children and youth (OVCY) in South Africa. Since its inception 16 years ago Heartbeat has reached 55 000 OVCY through a holistic service delivery programme offering mentoring and training. Today the organisation and its partners also offer accredited training & mentoring, as well as entrepreneurship and leadership development for orphaned and vulnerable youth organisations and support them.