The DTHF has worked in Masiphumelele, a developing community south of Cape Town, for more than twelve years. The YC is a project that grew from this relationship in response to the needs of young people in the area. The goal is to assist the adolescents in discovering their own working tools that can perpetuate their potential, while encouraging their confidence to make healthy life choices.
The YC provides a safe environment where youth aged 12-22 from diverse communities have access to reproductive healthcare as well as a space to gather, play, and prosper.
The intersection between the different fields of focus at the YC is the internship programme. Six young people from local communities are selected to serve as interns for a period of twelve to eighteen months and are paid a stipend. Selection is rigorous and the position yields many competitive applicants. Interns assist YC staff in facilitating activities in positive youth development and incorporate engagement strategies to encourage the involvement of the young people they work with. The interns become mentors and role models to the youth they work with, and also receive training in general office and management skills that prepares them for tertiary education or the work place.
Credits or ‘Tutus’ are earned when youth are willing to engage in social as well as health seeking activities at the YC, such as sports, gardening, or HIV testing. The opportunity is provided by the YC to try different activities and involvement is encouraged through the exchange of ‘Tutus’ for shopping vouchers at the local mall or healthy snacks from the onsite café. The principle of the programme is that the reward will initially ignite the adolescent’s interest in participating, but once they find an activity they succeed at or which sparks their imagination, the motivation will become intrinsic rather than solely for the reward.
Youth Centre Health Concept
The YC believes that young people learn and respond positively when they are motivated and engaged in interactive programmes.
“While playing soccer I encourage someone to go for a HIV test”, says Earl Mentor, the ZoneActive coordinator.
The YC concept to integrate sexual and reproductive health care with youth development programmes has proven to be very successful. 560 youth tested for HIV in the past year and just over 600 young women have been enrolled in the contraceptive programme. DTHF suggests that existing youth interventions replicate this model with a specific sexual reproductive health component where possible, to bring us closer to achieving the vision of an AIDS-free generation.
“The Youth Centre is a place to equip those who have potential to achieve more in life.”
“When I go to the Youth Centre I learn so many things like family planning and how to test for STI or HIV.”
Zethu - Youth Centre
“I think the centre is where the youth get a good chance to express themselves in different ways.”
Anele - Youth Intern
How can you get involved?
And empower a young person by supporting the Youth Centre in Masiphumelele.
|Follow us on Facebook.|
|Follow us on Twitter|
DTHF Youth Centre
Guinea Fowl Road
Tel: +27 (0)21 785 5454