Posts Tagged ‘youth’

The youth who had participated in the HIV/AIDS and Life-skills training went forth as ambassadors to the youth of Rooigrond. They eagerly shared what they had learnt with others and continue trying to apply it to their own lives as well. This coupled with the sense of achievement stirred up in them at the ‘Graduation’ ceremony, in which they received their certificates, created the need to do it again.

Once more, the Southern Cross Capacitating Corporation heeded our call and trained 30 more youths, who also passed the training course with flying colours and were awarded their certificates in a beautiful ceremony on the 12th December 2010. Once again, youth had been empowered not only with knowledge, but also with a sense of achievement and self-determination. It was wonderful to witness how this empowerment effort affected so much more than teaching the youth about responsible behaviour, it reached right to their self-esteem and had a general positive effect on the community, also inspiring the youth to get more active in community affairs.

The training course was a worthwhile endeavour, but we never even imagined what would come out of it in months to come- the extent to which the youth had been inspired…

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“No one can lead our lives for us. We are responsible for our actions. So people -especially the younger generation- need to be very careful especially where safe sex is concerned.”~ Salman Ahmad

The HIV/AIDS rate in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement area is very alarming and has had an impact that reaches beyond the infected’s family. The community has a large number of child-headed homes and some family’s have overcrowded their shacks due to taking in their relatives children- the children who get left behind. This deadly phenomenon is perpetuated by ignorance about the disease and years of wrong learning.

Amongst the youth, particularly the males, one often the old excuse that one “can’t eat a sweet with a wrapper on”, in reference to condoms. It’s taken as a sign of cowardice to use them- a sign of unmanliness. This plus the a long list of sex-related myths, only serves to perpetuate the problems this cycle of careless about sex has brought. Young males need to be taught that, there’s nothing manly about digging your own grave.

With their female counterparts, however, the reasons more commonly given for a lack of condom usage are more often than not, “he doesn’t like them”; “he’ll leave me” and “I love him”. It’s of utmost importance that we teach our young ladies that sex isn’t a tool to be used to keep a man, especially unsafe sex. Is it worth your life to prove to another how much you love them?

It is with this in mind, that we decided to seek out partnerships that would assist in the eradication of this problem. Southern Cross Capacitating Corporation, was quick to respond to our calls and provided HIV/AIDS and Lifeskills training (over a period of 5 days) to thirty youths. It was very interactive, informative and dispelled many of the sex-related myths within the community. On the 5th day, the participants of the training were assessed and on the 20th November 2010, a ‘graduation ceremony’ was hosted in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement. The training participants, who all passed the assessment, received certificates during this beautiful event.

The sense of achievement this brought to the youth, has been very beautiful to witness. This coupled with their keenness to share the knowledge they gained with others, has had quite an positive impact on the youth as a whole. More evidence that indeed, “together, we can overcome…”