Last summer, I visited Human Youth in Action in Simunye, which runs a computer literacy center and a variety of youth-led arts programs. On the day I visited, many of the youth were preparing for a concert that would be put on later on that afternoon. I didn't get to see the concert, but watching them practice, and getting to ask them about their experiences participating in Humana programs was such a treat. Many of the youth I interviewed spoke fondly of Humana project leaders (who are so obviously personally invested in the livelihood of every single young person in their program), but their eyes beamed with unbridled joy at the mention of their art programs. From dancing, to singing, to drama, all the youth I spoke with couldn't say enough about how much they enjoyed the space, looked forward to the center's activities, and cherished the friendships they developed with their peers and peer leaders. And as though creating a safe, nurturing, educational, and supportive social space for economically disadvantaged young people isn't enough, the organization has taken on the tasks of pipe lining them to better education and career opportunities as well.
After hanging out with the young creatives of Humana, I was taken to visit an IT/Computer training school. Many South African (black ) youth are uneducated, and thus, are unable to get decent jobs. Thus, IT/Computer skills training is critical, as they can at least make them eligible for secretarial positions, office administration, etc. In the event that youth are able to graduate, computer literacy creates a path to building a stronger candidacy. I got to sit in on a class in session -- there were about 25 students in the class, learning how to use Microsoft Word. Since Humana's program trains students in very basic computer skills, the youth are prepared for more advanced courses at the partner IT/Computer school.
Human People to People is filling such a deep need for young people in South Africa. I wish you could have seen the sparkle in the young people's eyes as they were talking about their experiences. The program leaders are SO invested in these young people, as is the rest of the community. What a truly inspiring, transformational organization.
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