Support HIV prevention& Youth Empowerment, Lesotho

 
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Feb 14, 2012

Raining Opportunities: New beginnings at Kick4Life

Thato in his new school uniform
Thato in his new school uniform

Dear all,

The rainy season is truly kicking in here in Lesotho, and we all hope that this will bring new life and growth to the dry earth here. New beginnings are taking place in other areas here too. Excitingly, this year’s group of women who have been going through our support programme are now ready to graduate and enter into a new phase through Fit4Work.

Fit4Work is a week long workshop designed to give 18-24 year old participants the skills they need to succeed in the workplace or move on to higher education. Activities include team building games, role plays, career guidance, CV sessions, mock interviews, and workplace conduct. At the end of the workshop, successful participants are linked with a volunteer job placement to gain real work experience and linked with a mentor for ongoing support and guidance.

For many of our participants, this workshop has led to real full time employment and/or higher education opportunities. Some of the young women taking part will be receiving hospitality training to enable them take up work in the new catering facilities of our Phase II building, as part of our growing focus on social enterprise and self-sufficiency.

In other great news, exciting new developments are also afoot for the gents: 3 of our participants on the ReCycle project have successfully generated enough income to go back into formal education. One of these young men is Thato, whose life is taking a doubly positive turn now that he has happily returned home to his mother. Thato left home 5 years ago because his father was beating him. He went to live on the streets of Maseru, where he began smoking glue and stopped attending school, helping people to park cars or carry their groceries so that he could buy food.

“It is hard to leave people you know and make new friendships out there, especially to leave family members... I was beaten by the police during the night and sometimes chased by people saying we must go back home. We used to not shower and sleep outside on the street”.

Thato was introduced to Kick4Life by some friends and began receiving support through our OVC initiative. His reasons for leaving home came to light during counselling, and a coincidental visit to his home visit through the ReCycling scheme one Wednesday provided the happy opportunity to be reunited with his mother, who told him that his father had since left. Whilst this has unfortunately left the family without a steady income, Thato returned home on the Sunday of that week and his mother’s relief is evident. She is especially pleased with his involvement with Kick4Life: “The great opportunity is that of going back to school and he is going to have a bright future which will enable him to earn a living”.

Despite having never completed his primary schooling, Thato is now at vocational college learning such skills as furniture making, having passed the entrance exam after taking classes in literacy, English and computing at Kick4Life. Thato is highly motivated by the opportunity to generate his own income through the ReCycle project and is now determined to take charge of his own future. Speaking of his ambitions, he says: “Just to work, and give others the opportunity to work... to have my own business and be able to make sure the family has enough to eat”.

Your support has made stories like this possible, and although Thato is now looking at a much brighter future, he will still attend the ReCycle project in order to continue generating enough funds to stay in education for the full 2 years. Have you had a similar experience of a new life-changing opportunity? At Kick4Life we work to give young people a chance to take control of their futures and build their own successes, with great results.

If you believe in youth empowerment like we do, please continue to support us and let the world know about it! You can donate here, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook, or just tell your friends about us the old-fashioned way. Whatever you do, you’ll be helping us to keep creating life-changing opportunities for young people in Lesotho.

Thank you!

Thato
Thato's mother recounts their story
The Women4Women group at their weekly meeting
The Women4Women group at their weekly meeting

Links:

Nov 22, 2011

Donate a brick for PHASE II at Kick4Life!

Construction begins
Construction begins

Dear all,

Growth is strong at Kick4Life and that's why we recently held another groundbreaking ceremony for PHASE II construction.

Phase II is a two-story social enterprise building complete with conference rooms, a catering facility, internet cafe, office space and an accommodation wing.   The building will enable disadvantaged children and young people to develop skills and experience, and at the same time generate vital funds for our life-saving work.  We hope to employ many of our at-risk youth, those who have shown great potential, to help run the catering facility, internet cafe, and accommodation wing.

Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Standard Lesotho Bank, we have already raised 1.75million Rand, hence the groundbreaking and start of construction.  While this will help us get most of the ground floor built, we are still short on the total amount needed of about 3.75million Rand (approximately $500,000) which will cover both the rest of the ground floor and the accommodation floor.

To do this, Kick4Life is offering personalised Certificates in return for a £50 or $80 donation towards the development of the Social Enterprise centre.  If you donate this amount, you will in effect be donating at least a brick to the construction costs of the new building.  Your name, or a nominated friend's or relative's name, will be etched on a permanent plaque at the centre.

If you decide to donate (it's ok to do it through the Global Giving website!), please email steve@kick4life.org with the following details:

1. The name you would like on the Certificate and on the plaque

2. Any personal message you would like on the Certificate

3. Which address to send the Certificate to

You are on this list because you have already made a generous contribution to Kick4Life, and we are asking once again for your support this holiday season, and ask that this time maybe you consider giving on behalf of a friend or relative.  Your donation will support a significant initiative in the tiny country of Lesotho by helping to create jobspromote youth empowermentboost local tourism and fund Kick4Life's high-quality life skills programming.

It's your choice.

Thank you!

Construction begins
Construction begins
Construction begins
Construction begins

Links:

Oct 25, 2011

Get to know Women4Women, Literacy and ReCYCLE!

Brand new Literacy Centre
Brand new Literacy Centre

What used to be known as the Maseru Street League has now evolved... say hello to Women4Women, the Literacy and Numeracy Programme, and the ReCYCLE project!

Thanks to incredible support from donors, we have been able to successfully run over 20 Street League tournaments. Working with the vulnerable youth in Lesotho has been a learning experience for everyone, and while the Street League certainly was a smashing success and a lot of fun, it was time to go back to the drawing board.  After careful consideration of the needs of our participants, Kick4Life has refined it's approach to providing integrated, holistic care to orphans and vulnerable children in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho.  Don't worry - the kids still play a lot of soccer, and we still hold large scale community events through our Test Your Team Campaign.

Kick4Life has developed 3 programs that each attempt to address the needs of Maseru youth.  Each programme draws participants from the Maseru Street League, and each programme uses the concepts of interactive, games-based discovery learning and real practical life skills development.

The Literacy and Numeracy Programme is basically like Kick4Life's little library, enhanced with a super sweet Curriculum that teaches youth basic literacy and numeracy skills.  The Literacy Centre is open every day, but kids meet every Tuesday to do planned activities and progress through a series of challenges which eventually build towards the creation of real income generating activities for the youth!

The Women4Women programme specifically targets vulnerable women in Maseru.  The women meet each week for different topics, such as a guest speaker on nutrition followed by the planting of a garden at the Lesotho Football for Hope Centre.  And yes of course, sometimes they play in house football tournaments on the 5-a-side artificial turf pitch!

The ReCYCLE project is an innovative project with huge potential.  Vulnerable youth from Maseru, most of whom are homeless, ride bicycle routes to collect recyclable materials from paying customers, using welded trailers on the back of bicycles.  The recycled materials are then taken to the Recycling Centre, and all money raised goes towards paying for school fees and/or vocational training for the participants.  We currently have about 40 customers signed up for this, but the number is growing each week, and the guys recently started picking up materials at the local mall too.  It's as cool as it sounds!

So these three projects form the basis of what is now the Kick4Life OVC Initiative.  All participants in all programmes are constantly encouraged to test for HIV in the counselling rooms now available at the Lesotho Football for Hope Centre, and our counsellors and mentors are always looking for ways to reintegrate youth back with families, re-enroll in school, adopt healthy behaviors, and generally provide the support and care that these kids desperately need.

Your support as always is much appreciated and Kick4Life couldn't do what it does without you! Know someone who would be interested in our work? Why not 'Like' our Facebook page and encourage your friends and family to check it out for regular updates on our activities and progress!

The ReCYCLE team getting ready to ride out
The ReCYCLE team getting ready to ride out

Links:

Jun 2, 2011

Other Cool Projects at Kick4Life!

While your support goes directly to support the Maseru Street League, we think it's only fair to shift gears a bit and give an update that focuses on some other projects which are equally important and really help to round out the bigger picture of what Kick4Life does.  In fact, many of the other projects at Kick4Life are very much related to the Street League and help provide a more comprehensive approach to our support of children in Lesotho.

To put things in context, the monthly football tournament for OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) that is the Maseru Street League is simply a part of the larger "OVC Care and Support Initiative".  This Initiative hosts a number of unique projects that all serve to provide the support and means for children to move off the streets, find stable living arrangements, and/or go back to school.  Recognizing that we can't do everything at Kick4Life, we have trained counselors and mentors who are constantly working hard to utilize a strong referral system for those needs which are out of our capabilities, such as food, nutrition and shelter.

Here is a list of other Kick4Life projects that complement the Street League, all of which are currently underway!

  • Recycling Initiative – A new income generating project that uses trailers attached to bikes to deliver a recycling service to citizens of Lesotho.  All customer subscription fees and commission rates from the recycling centre will go towards OVC school fees, uniforms, supplies, etc. OVCs ride the bikes to collect the recycling themselves.  This program is still in a pilot phase but has already generated quite a buzz around Maseru.
  • ICT Campaign - a nationwide awareness campaign using mobile texting technology to increase knowledge about HIV awareness as well as increase access to HIV treatment.
  • OVC Care & Support Programme - a mentoring and referral programme for the street children and very vulnerable youth in Maseru. Each child undergoes an in-depth Child Status Index assessment which outlines their areas of most urgent need. A 6 month Care Plan is then put together referring the child to partner organizations and agencies who offer services in those areas of need. 
  • Red Card Campaign - a series of drama skits performed at community events and to the youth going through the K4L HIV Prevention Curriculum with audience participation demonstrating risky behaviours for HIV.
  • Fit4Work - a five day intensive workshop to teach vulnerable youth the essential skills required to obtain a job and succeed in the workforce. The four major themes of the workshop are job-hunting, CV writing, interview/communication skills and workplace conduct. In between these sessions, the workshop includes exercises in problem-solving, teamwork and life-skills. Upon completion of the workshop, each graduate is assigned a work placement for a minimum of one week.
  • Women's Ambition for a Better Future - This programme was launched in February 2011 for very vulnerable young women in Maseru who go through the Kick4Life curriculum, participate in various community events, receive mentoring and counseling, and go through our Fit4Work program, which will allow them to get real job experience. The program is designed to give at-risk women, many of whom are sex workers, an opportunity to receive valuable skills and opportunities that will ultimately lead to stable employment and a healthier lifestyle.

Please also keep in mind that Kick4Life trained "coaches" are continuing to deliver our innovative HIV and Life Skills Curriculum in schools and communities around Maseru, and they have already graduated over 1500 youth in 2011 alone!  This is really outstanding work done by our coaches and they deserve all the recognition they can get.

And, on top of this, we have just relocated to the new Lesotho Football for Hope Centre, featuring a 7-a-side artificial turf pitch.

The future remains bright for Kick4Life, and you play a big part in making this happen.

Thank you!

Links:

Mar 4, 2011

The New Lesotho Street League?

Girls outside of a testing room during an event
Girls outside of a testing room during an event

It's a transition time for the Maseru Street League.  Kick4Life is currently applying for more sources of funding to continue running the monthly football tournament that combines HIV testing with innovative life skills activities.  We have recently submitted a proposal to the "Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit", also known as G.I.Z.  These guys have been the major source of fundraising for the past year and a half, so hopefully it's just a matter of time before they approve another 8 months of funding for the Street League.

The new proposal for the Street League incorporates some valuable lessons learnt from the past 1.5 years of operation, namely, that once-a-month football tournaments are simply a beginning to truly transforming the lives of OVCs into becoming positive, contributing members of society.  The new Lesotho Street League proposes both an expansion by hosting events in other districts and a focus on high-quality care for a small number of OVCs.

Here is a brief summary of the goals for the new "Lesotho Street League":

1. 7 Street League tournaments will be held between April 2011 and December 2011.  Four of these tournaments will take place in Maseru, and the other 3 will take place in the nearby districts of Berea and Leribe.

2. Approximately 150 OVCs who have attended the Street League most regularly will participate in a "Holiday Camp", or a week-long camp in which they receive the entire K4L Curriculum over the course of 5 days.

3. 30 of the most vulnerable OVCs from the streets of Maseru will receive intensive, ongoing holistic care.  They will receive an in-depth needs analysis using an innovative tool known as "CSI", and Care Plans will be developed and executed using a diverse network of local organizations who can provide services that K4L cannot, such as shelter or food and nutrition. 

Kick4Life is eagerly awaiting the decision of G.I.Z. regarding the proposal.  In the meantime, your tangible support continues to provide the most at-risk youth, literally gathered from the streets of Maseru, the opportunity to participate in ongoing weekly training sessions, which have been essential in building and maintaining caring adult relationships.  Without your support, this transition time between major sources of funding would likely have been wasted.

So, on behalf of Kick4Life, thank you for making the Street League possible.

Do you have a particular request for these project reports?  Have a specific question about Kick4Life?  Please let us know - curtis@kick4life.org.

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Curtis Gardner

Maseru West, Maseru Lesotho

Where is this project located?

Map of Support HIV prevention& Youth Empowerment, Lesotho