The Guard

The Truth On Board

Adolescent and young people summit a success

By Emily Setona

BETHLEHEM – The Adolescent and Young People (AYP) summit took place at Tiisetsang High School in Bohlokong Bethlehem on Saturday March 16 as a platform to educate and engage young people, particularly young women, on social issues that affect them.

The summit was held by the Centre for Community Impact (CCI) with a view to hearing what their beneficiaries have to say about their programmes when it comes to issues of teenage pregnancy and many other social ills.
One of the participants, Lisbeth Visagie from Rosendaal said she found out about this programme when she was feeling vulnerable and needed the help of a social worker.

“CCI has a safe space where I got the help that I needed. I found out about this programme when I was not mentally ok and needed the help of a social worker because of the abuse I was experiencing at home.

“The social worker who helped me was friendly and made me feel heard, and I got the support that I needed. Today is an AYP programme and it is all about engaging us and finding out how this programme is assisting us and spreading the word to those who haven’t heard about the CCI safe spaces to find out more about this programme,” Visagie said in an interview with The Guard.

Another participant, Reamohetse Motaung was full of praise for the social workers at CCI who she described as ‘very friendly people.
“Today is about the Adolescent and Young People summit where we are taught how to protect ourselves from contracting HIV/AIDS and how to prevent teenage pregnancy. Many people don’t know about most of the things that we learn here. Even when you go to the CCI safe spaces the social workers there are very friendly they don’t judge you; they are kind and tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of the choices we make as young people.

“They also help with academic matters like applying for NSFAS. There is free Wi-Fi at the centre, so this programme is really very helpful,” Motaung told The Guard.
Beyond Zero is the primary sponsor of the CCI programme and the AYP summit whose primary objective was to hear the voice of the young people so that their voices can form part of the decision-making process.

Beneficiaries attending a CCI Adolescents and Young People summit in Bohlokong Bethlehem.

The community system strengthening manager from Beyond Zero Amukelani Maluleke said: “We want the voices of young people to be part of the decision making on issues that affect them in their daily lives. For example, we find young people falling pregnant without understanding why and as adults we are harsh to them. This type of a programme gives them an opportunity to talk about the factors that affect them in their daily lives, to say ‘When you see us being like this is, it’s because of this’. Therefore, the AYP programme is for us to shape up the response mechanism to say, this is how people should behave, this is how young people should participate, and this is how young people should protect themselves from social ills.”

CCI provincial programme coordinator Thulani Mazibuko said in Thabo Mofutsanyana the programme caters for the local municipalities of Dihlabeng and Setsoto.

“Today is all about the lessons learned; we want to hear from the young people who are the beneficiaries of our services so we can change what needs to be changed and improve where we need to improve and learn even the best practices, what can we keep going forward. Basically, it’s from the young people’s point of view rather than us telling them what it is that needs to happen, so they also have a voice today, that is why we are here today,” Mazibuko said.