Youth Empowerment in Soweto

In August 2005, IAHV SA, and partner organization, The Art of Living established a partnership with Forte High School in Dobsonville, Soweto, Johannesburg. The partnership began with a medical camp and progressed rapidly.

There were an alarmingly large number of children at the school, who were from child-headed families, or who are heading their families and siblings.

The Youth Village project’s focus is to assist and empower youth in a sustainable way by providing the vital tools and practical experience to manage their lives successfully, both at home and in school.

The project, headed by Art of Living teacher, Aneshree Naidoo does the above with the focus on mental, emotional and spiritual development.

In April 2007, 80 learners participated in the first YES Course, held at the school. To date, over 140 youth from the school and neighboring schools have successfully completed the Youth Empowerment Seminar.

Youth Village project hosts first mega ‘Youth Camp’ in Soweto, 2 – 5 April 2012. The camp was attended by 80 children from around Soweto as well as Johannesburg and surrounds. Children from 8 to 18 years enjoyed 4 days of this fun-filled and life changing camp that included the ART Excel (All Round Training in Excellence) program for children 8-12 years and YES (Youth Empowerment Seminar) program for teenagers 13-18 years. The camp featured career counseling, motivational speakers, creative art and dance workshops. Over 50 children attending the Youth Camp were orphans or came from child-headed families and were sponsored by the project.

YES! Club: With great results, a YES! Club was set up, where youth in a constructive manner bring about positive changes to their schools and communities.

Computer Centre: In January 2006, IAHV together with sponsors donated a fully equipped computer center, with 20 computers at the school – each graduate now leaves the school with basic computer skills.

Feeding Scheme: Set up by Forte High school governing body to provide a lunch time meal to learners during the school terms. There are schools attempting to ensure scholars stay at school and they are finding innovative ways to assist these children. Forte High school were struggling to find resources to keep a feeding scheme running at the school. The Youth Village partnered with Forte High School, adopted the Feeding Scheme in 2009 and to date approximately 250 scholars from Forte High School and other secondary schools receive meals at the school.

Organic Food Garden: The school has allocated land in the school to develop an organic garden. School learners and the YES Club have successfully grown a variety of vegetables for use in the feeding program at the school. Plans are underway to expand this project to other schools and homes.

Food distribution during the December School Holidays: Each year food parcels as well as basic cosmetics are provided to sustain 120 learners; who are the heads of their families during the 8 week holiday period.

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