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.

Over 4,000 youth are currently registered at the YC, in the past year 1,800 HIV tests have been administered and over 180 young women were enrolled into the contraception program.  



Youth come to attain assistance from interns and YC staff with homework assignments, resume building, and college applications. Interns also engage youth in courses such as geography and origami. Internet access is available in the 19-computer lab to allow youth access to email, social media, and online educational sites to promote the use of the Internet to their benefit.


A nurse is available every weekday to provide services including HIV testing, free contraceptives and condoms, and STI syndromic treatment. An adolescent counselor is also available as a resource for mental and physical health development.  The health zone is popular as the nurses value the assurance of confidentiality, the non-judgmental attitudes of staff, and the caring and attentive environment.

The recreation and educational aspects of the Youth Centre are strategically positioned around a centrally situated sexual and reproductive primary health care facility. When adolescents are offered easy, safe and non-judgmental access to health services, in a confidential, inclusive and friendly manner, they will make use of such services.


The YC facilitates activities to encourage an active lifestyle for the youth by coordinating traditional dance programs, sports teams, art classes, and music programs. A music studio is available for use as well as space for art, sports games, a pool table, and foosball. YC interns and staff incorporate discussions on hygiene and the importance of physical exercise in the separate girls and boys clubs.

Internship programme

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.

Reward programme

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

Youth Centre Health Concept

Youth Centre

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.”

Xonlani-Youth Centre

“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.


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DTHF Youth Centre
Guinea Fowl Road
Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 785 5454