loveLife in South Africa assists youth in tackling tough issues and building self-esteem
As most readers of my blog know, I participated in an NYU MSGA global field intensive in South Africa this summer. I wrote several blogs about my time in South Africa but there is one organization that I waited to write about — until now. Myself and a few other students from our group knew as we left Orange Farm, South Africa, that we were going to assist the NGO loveLife in some capacity. We are ready to go, just in time to close out our Fall 2014 semester.
While in the Johannesburg area, we visited loveLife’s Youth Centre in Orange Farm, South Africa — a township in Greater Johannesburg. loveLife works with South African youth on HIV/AIDS prevention. The organization also assists youth in increasing self-esteem and dealing with day-to-day pressures and transitions. UNAIDS cites that, in South Africa, there are approximately 2.4 million orphans, age 0 to 17 years, due to AIDS. UNICEF cites that approximately 150,000 South African children are living in child-headed households because of their parents’ HIV/AIDS-related deaths. loveLife supports young people in these age groups and households.
The visit to loveLife’s Youth Centre was amazing. They have centers and also community outreach programs in South African communities. While onsite, we met many of their members who lead the youth programs, as well as younger members who attend classes. They showed us around the center, including the library, the space where they teach students narrowcasting (broadcasting without a large audience) and where youth come to learn about the different programs offered. The facility also includes a nurse’s room, an entertainment room and an outdoor space for athletics. Additionally, we had a chance to participate as if we were loveLife students and then we went out side to play a few games. I learned a lot about the organization, as well as the youth leaders who have built a wonderful community to educate, support and encourage one another.
A short distance away from the center is a daycare that loveLife works with. The day we visited there were roughly 70 small children on site. The children were described as orphans, which in this context could indicate several things – they have either lost one or both parents, are living with a grandparent, or possibly a sibling that could be under the age of 18. We had the best time with the children and it was truly difficult for me to leave.
Photo collage of our 2014 visit to loveLife.
So, now is the point where I explain our current project for loveLife. Our group is holding a book drive for loveLife’s Youth Centre in Orange Farm, South Africa. The drive will take place in New York, NY, December 4-12, 2014. All funds received will be used to purchase books and pay for shipping to South Africa. Please donate $5 or whatever amount you can afford, if you are so inclined. Donations can be made at: http://www.gofundme.com/loveLifebooks Thank you!