Youth at Risk Programmes

porti_youth2These programmes assist the youth to develop life skills and coping strategies, and helps them to identify and manage their emotions. Our programmes play a valuable role in addressing the needs of youth growing up in high-risk environments and can increase resilience to negative influences in their lives. Our programmes can be tailor-made to suit the participants’ needs.

Statement of Need
In South Africa, the youth are constantly exposed to high-risk environments, resulting in substance abuse, violence and other risky behaviours as coping mechanisms. These behaviours in turn have a knock-on effect throughout the lives of such youth and contribute towards the many social and educational problems that our country faces. Through engaging with horses, children and teenagers learn valuable life skills that can be translated back to their real life environments. Many youth that have been exposed to high risk environments struggle to express themselves appropriately, but through working with horses they are able to learn how to express such emotions and learn to develop a bond with another living being in a non-judgmental and unconditionally accepting environment. This unique bond can help a youth develop respect, empathy, patience, confidence, responsibility and assertiveness. Such attributes can help the youth to develop mutually respectful relationships in their lives and help them to overcome their past trauma where relationships with others have been damaging. A kind of magic happens when a desperately unhappy child is brought to the country to interact with horses. A change of environment, especially from an urban area to open, natural surroundings, filled with fresh air and flooded with sunshine, can have an uplifting and calming effect” (
Programme Goals
  • To offer a programme to assist the youth to develop life skills and coping strategies
  • To assist the youth to shift their outlook towards themselves and others
  • To assist the youth to identify and manage negative emotions
  • To empower youths to become self-reliant in order to make informed decisions about their choices, evaluate their choices, and take responsibility for their choices
  • To help the youth to begin to overcome past trauma through a therapeutic and skills-based experiential model
  • To promote emotional growth and learning opportunities in an emotionally supportive environment
Programme Outcomes
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Improve communication skills (for example, using assertiveness as opposed to aggression)
  • Improve problem solving and goal-setting skills
  • Improve self-management skills (for example, setting boundaries, learning to say no and dealing with conflict and anger)
  • Improve self-esteem by helping them to feel good about themselves, develop their self-worth and increase their level of self-confidence
  • Strengthen and develop their ability to trust in themselves and others
  • Develop a healthier understanding of interpersonal relationships
  • Increase personal insights
Programme Detail
  • Twelve weekly 1-hour sessions (split into initial 8-week programme, and then a 4-week follow-up programme)
  • 6 participants