Department of Education Youth Conference
The Department of Education’s HIV/AIDS Unit hosted their first District Youth Conference on Saturday 5th November in Uitenhage, and we were invited to take part in the day. The theme of the day was ‘’the choices I make today determine my tomorrow”.
Our activity “Choices” from our Youth Development through Football (YDF) curriculum was the perfect fit for the day. This activity has key messages highlighting the importance of making your own choices as an individual as well as choices we can each take to avoid getting or spreading HIV/ AIDS. These messages were of course in line with the purpose of the event. Invited on the day were representatives from Alcoholics Anonymous, Love Life, Departments of Education, Health and Social Development as well as various other stakeholders. There were learners, teachers and parents from twenty schools in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan as well as the Cacadu District, all areas we carry out our programs in.
UTS SA played a big role in this conference, as we showed (to the parents especially) how learning through play was an effective way of passing these messages across to our youth. Our life skills coaches also assisted in facilitating the commissions as everyone was grouped and given topics to discuss and give feedback on. The parents were tasked with the topic “HCT in our schools” and the youth were grouped into three: “Substance Abuse”, “Teenage Pregnancy” and “Condoms vs. Abstinence”.
It was interesting to hear the feedback from each group and to just listen to the youth speak out about the issues that they are faced with everyday, in and outside of school. Some high-lights of the day included the poems, rap songs and short play that came from learners, all speaking out about the dangers of drug abuse and this deadly virus that infects and affects the youth of this country.
The relationship between us and the Department of Education is an important one and we were honoured to be invited to this event. It was a good day to showcase the work we do, as well increase our database of schools that are in need of our interventions. We do hope that we can be involved in more events of this nature in the future.