Youth Development Programme
The youth development programme mission is about building tomorrow today. We have touched many youth who find themselves confronted by a lot of both negative and positive messages, utterances and deeds by their peers and adults in communities and the nation at large.
How do we learn from the past and yet not become its prisoners? How do young people deal with a history they did not create? How do they become participants in shaping a country that upholds human rights, justice and equality for all? These are questions young people struggle with in our projects and we hope we have managed to help them begin to answer these questions and make positive informed choices.
We have planned to have 2 Youth Peace Academies in 2010, facilitate the Curriculum Support project in 6 high schools, Respond to Request for the Facing the past Shorter Course for youth groups and further develop a team of facilitators to assist in the implementation of our work. Due to the realisation that some youth have been through traumatic experiences in their young lives we also planned to design and pilot a Healing of memories workshop tailor-made for the youth who have been in trouble with the law and those who had been victims of sexual abuse.
Youth Peace Academy
The Youth Peace Academy is a youth development training Camp for youth in Secondary Schools. It’s a good opportunity when you have young people for full 2 and half days engaging them on a number of workshops.
The Youth Peace Academy was held on the 29th – 31st March 2010. We had a great time with the youth who attended the camp. The youth had the opportunity to get a broader picture of what were the experiences of South Africans in the various communities. It was an opportunity for them to begin understanding the complexities of Apartheid years. The youth had the opportunity to learn about the difficult choices made by individual and communities and the consequences of those choices. The themes covered during this camp were Facing the past, Human rights violations and human rights, Identity, Choosing to participate and Relationships with parents.
We always have a cultural evening on the last night of the camp and the youth enjoy it a lot. It’s an opportunity for the youth share their talents like singing, dancing, drama, comedy and enjoying the music and chatting informally with their peers. The youth camp creates an opportunity for the youth learn, share and grow. It’s a space were the youth are challenged to be critical thinkers and be able to make positive informed choices for themselves and their communities. We inspire them to become active citizens and see themselves as people who can make a meaningful contribution in our country.
The Curriculum Support Project is an intense project designed and offered to grade 9 learners in Secondary schools. It was developed to support the learning outcomes of Social Science (History) and Life Orientation. It’s a project that is offered over a period of 2 weeks in each school. We go into a school and work with all the grade 9 classes.
We managed to offer 3 curriculum support projects for the year 2010 during the first and second term of the schools year calendar. There were challenges that confronted us during 2010 towards the end of the second term. South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup and school were closed for 5 weeks. When the world cup was over, a three weeks teachers strike started. We had a challenge with schools who told us they can’t allow us to implement a 2 weeks project after losing so much time during the world cup and the teachers strike.
Facing the Past Shorter Course
We facilitated about 8 facing the past shorter course with different community youth groups and international students visiting the Institute through different organisations. The workshops with local youth focused on South Africa’s history and assisted the youth to learn about and from South Africa’s past. It’s been an opportunity for the youth to understand the complexities of our history and find lessons they can from that experience. International students learn about our history and how we have and continue to find ways of dealing with the past. We encourage these students to think and share about issues of discrimination in their own context. Sometime the response from the international students has been good in terms of sharing about the challenges in their own context and some groups were not sharing much. They would be interested in engaging more with South Africa’s history and the challenges of reconciliation and nation building. We always find the shorter course experience interesting though its short but people are challenged to reflect, share and learn from one another.
Healing of Memories workshop for youth Pilot
The Healing of Memories Pilot Project came about after a long discussion about the need to develop a model for healing of memories for youth. We realise that some young people are struggling with very heavy emotions because of many challenges they face in their young lives.
We took some exercises from the adults Healing of Memories workshops and developed it for the youth. The pilot was done in August 2010 at Bonny Town Place of safety in Wynbery, Cape Town.
The Bonny Town Place of Safety has about 110 young boys between the ages of 14 and 18. They are placed by the courts pending their cases.
We had 2 days of an hour getting to know you and team building session with the boys to help get them ready and relaxed. We used different exercises and drumming to get the group to be relaxed and prepared for the process. We planned to help the youth to have an understanding of what to expect from the process. The response of some of the youth was really great they shared a lot about their challenging lives and their upbringing, the bad things they got to be involved with in their communities. Most of the young people shared quite deeply and spoke about personal things in their live and what they have done to end up in a youth facility.
Comments made by the youth after attending the workshops:
“I learnt that we should not judge each other and let’s not allow the past to affect our future negatively.”( Ikamvalethu High School, Langa)
“I’ve learnt on how to deal with issues at home with my parents and other youth.”
(Lentergeur High School, Mitchell’s Plain)
“I really liked the drawing of pictures about the relationship we have with our parents. Talking about it was hard but I felt good at the end.” (Lentergeur, Mitchell’s Plain)
Once again, thank you for your recent generous donation to the Youth Development Programme.