Youth helping Youth
16 June 2010
For National Youth Day, OneVoice South Africa (OVSA) learners in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape honoured young people affected by the unrelenting effects of HIV and AIDS. Reaching out in partnership with OVSA – a dynamic non-governmental organisation working in schools to support a reduction in new HIV infections – learners wished to acknowledge the many young South Africans who are faced with the ongoing realities of losing parents/caregivers and family members.
OVSA learners arrived at the Ramakrishna Ethembeni Home to distribute clothes to orphans as part of their Schools Programme Advocacy Project. These projects play a pivotal role in the development of young people as it allows them the opportunity to discuss and identify HIV and AIDS related issues and other problems that affect them and the communities they live in. “Giving back to the community brings great satisfaction”, said an OVSA learner.
The orphanage houses about 45 orphans and the OVSA learners decided that their project would focus on bettering the lives of the orphans. Their request went far and wide and a large amount of clothing was collected. OVSA staff members also partook in the campaign, assisting in collecting clothes and arranging to transport the learners to and from the orphanage.
The Ramakrishna Ethembeni Home provides a save heaven for the orphans and provides for their basic needs. The benefit of the new clothes was a welcome relief and lit up the faces of the orphans.
One OVSA learner enthused: “The Schools Programme helps us to identify pressing and urgent problems in the community. One major problem is that young people are orphaned at an early age. Family members and caregivers can no longer provide for the orphans and seek help from community centres like the Ramakrishna Ethembeni Home”.
The Founder of the home, Mrs Thobile Mhlongo, also known as KwaZulu-Natal’s “Mother Teresa” expressed her excitement at the OVSA initiative. She encouraged learners continue with the OVSA Schools Programme, complete school and further their education.
OVSA encourages young people to take action through taking part in the Schools Programme. This could mean anything from making a change in their own life, becoming a volunteer, fundraising for a community project, or spreading awareness.
For more information on the work of OneVoice South Africa, please visit our website on www.onevoice.org.za or call us on +27 (0)31 202 0555