Work4You (previously known as Diverse Employment and Training Solutions), a certified non-profit organisation was formed in 2005, and registered in 2006, by a group of Occupational Therapists, educationists and business people with an interest in the disability sector. They identified an opportunity to alleviate the high unemployment rate (80-90%) of youth with intellectual disabilities in Cape Town.
The idea of Work4You started to become a reality when the project was launched by Ann Kraft in the special needs unit of the St Joseph’s Marists College; and then moved into home kitchens across Cape Town.
A WORD FROM our FOUNDER, ANN KRAFT:
While working at St Joseph’s Marist College Special Needs Unit about thirteen years ago, Alison Newby and I decided to get some of our older youngsters involved in job shadowing. To start it off one of the youngsters, Tessa, was placed in a dog grooming parlour and we became very friendly with the owner; who gave us the recipe for yummy dog biscuits and that is when Wagalots was born!
We started baking at school in the afternoons. We had great fun mixing, rolling, cutting and baking. There were memorable afternoons full of laughter, chatting and hard work! We started off by giving the biscuits away to staff and family. These were very warmly received, so we upped production and started selling. I loved working with my young adults and I love animals, so I decided to leave the teaching side of my work and move into full time biscuit production with a few of our older students. During this time, production moved to home kitchens. Tessa’s mom, Shelly, was wonderful – she gave us the full use of her kitchen twice a week and we baked in my kitchen once a week.
It was hard work but it was very rewarding. The team became a dedicated working machine! We would load my little Corsa with all equipment and accompanied by my poodle, Fred, we would head off to work.
That’s really how it all began. I believe in angels and they were with us on this journey. People, synchronicity and hard work paved the way to where Work4You is today. I am so very, very proud of all the young people I have worked with. They are the ones who set this all in motion. They showed me how to seize the moment and do a job with great enthusiasm and dedication.
It is wonderful to see how our small beginnings have developed into such a great organization as Work4You. Well done to all involved!!