The DTHF has worked in Masiphumelele, an under-resourced 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 give adolescents the tools and the confidence to make healthy life choices and to assist them in developing their potential.
The YC does this through offering a safe, healthy environment where youth aged 12-22 from diverse communities can gather, learn, and play and access friendly sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Crosscutting all the programmes above, is the intern programme. Six young people from local communities are selected to serve as interns for a period of eighteen months. Selection is rigorous and the positions much sought after. Interns are paid a stipend and assist YC staff in developing programmes and events. They receive training in general office and management skills and become mentors and role models. The programme prepares the interns for tertiary education or the work place.
Credits or ‘Tutus’ are earned for participation in particular activities with an emphasis on service to others and the wider community. These may include special events, sports, gardening, HIV testing, or entering the contraception programme. Youth ‘burn’ Tutus by exchanging them for groceries or shopping vouchers, or healthy snacks at the Eyethu Café.
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.
- Clients are 23% male (higher than the metro average)
- 41.4% of young people who took their first HIV test have continued with regular HIV testing
- The HealthZone clinic has higher HIV testing rates among younger adolescents when compared to the local community clinic
Youth Center Operations Manager
Youth Center Sports & Recreation Coordinator
YC Activities and Events Coordinator
“Working at the Youth Centre was a life changing experience. It gave my life a direction and a sense of belonging to something big and important. I was given the opportunity to express myself, learn new and vital life skills and this is something I believe no other job will ever give me”.
Buhle Manqamane, ex-intern at the YC
“EduZone is the best for me. In the computer lab I learnt to do research on the internet and I wrote up my project proposal. Nowadays computer literacy is critical, without it is hard to find a job. Our community needs these skills. Without these computer skills, there is no hope for young people in my community.”
Lunga Makhupula, a regular visiting ex-high school learner
“I did not dare to go anywhere else for my HIV test. The only clinic available is not a good place to be. I am afraid my neighbours will see me and that they will talk about me. My parents will find out soon that I am not living up to their standards, if you know what I mean. I am deeply thankful for the support from the YC with not other viable place to go.”
How can you get involved?
And empower a young person by supporting the Youth Centre in Masiphumelele.
And help run programmes at the Youth Centre.
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|Read the Tutu Times, our hip online newsletter produced by the youth interns. With Desmond Tutu as their ambassador, they named their first online initiative after the highly respected Archbishop.|
Lavinia Browne. Tel: + 27 21 650 1942
DTHF Youth Centre
Guinea Fowl Road
Tel: +27 (0)21 785 5454