Rites of Passage Programme

Rites of Passage Programme – Be inspired

In a nutshell

The Rites of Passage Programme provides support, guidance and rites of passage rituals that help young people who have experienced, or who are at risk of experiencing personal or social problems, to change their lives.

What we do

This programme combines wilderness therapy, educational and skills development, and mentoring.

How we do it

Weekly life skills workshops are presented to programme participants. Girls and boys have separate programmes. Every group is taken on a 3-day wilderness experience, which usually turns out to be the highlight of the programme for many participants. Mentors from the community are also present throughout this experience and provide positive adult input into the lives of our young participants. They also serve as positive role models, who provide support and guidance.

What we have achieved

Over the past year we have reached 402 participants. We are very proud of two of our graduates who will be leaving shortly to travel the world, one as an air hostess for Quantas Airlines (based in Australia) and the other as a photographer on the Norwegian Pearl Cruise ship. Another one of our graduates has enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch, where she is currently completing her first year of her BEd Degree.

What we have learned

We have learnt over the past year that young people are hungry for support, and a sense of community. We have also learnt that for most young people, home is not a safe space. We have had numerous participants reaching out for extra assistance and we have learnt that it is necessary to make space to work individually with some of the participants, where necessary. Although we use a group model approach, we work to put in the extra time with individual participants when needed.


A special thank-you to Imanuella Muller for compiling this project profile. For further information about Usiko Stellenbosch and the Rites of Passage Programme, please contact:

Mr Arnold Okkers, Executive Director, Usiko Stellenbosch:

  • Email: arnold@usikotb.org.za

Ms Imanuella Muller, Programme Manager, Usiko Stellenbosch:

  • Email: imanuella@usikotb.org.za
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