World AIDS Day Press Release
YOUNG PEOPLE’S ABILITY TO MOVE BEYOND HIV VULNERABILITY!
1 December 2010
2010 marks the 22nd anniversary of World AIDS Day. Every year on the first of December, people the world over come together to remember loved ones who have passed, and to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. This year’s theme is Universal Access and Human Rights – an appropriate topic considering the huge strides young people have made in terms of engaging on HIV prevention and human rights.
Nonetheless, young people are still viewed as ‘vulnerable’ because they are seen neither as children, nor uninformed adults, but rather as young people on a journey from childhood to adulthood; which is considered a time of great risk. Nonetheless, this ‘vulnerability’ often also provides the fertile soil from which ‘ability’ flourishes. Young South Africans are in fact, brave and inspiring. They bring boundless energy, passion and fresh ideas to the table, and their commitment to advocating for change is critical to building a healthy tomorrow. The exclusion of young people from strategic planning and policy development is therefore no longer an option. In recognition of the valuable contribution they can make, an increasing number of HIV prevention programmes are now partnering with young people.
OneVoice South Africa (OVSA) is a vibrant and innovative non-governmental organisation that recognises the importance of partnering with young South Africans on HIV and AIDS prevention. OVSA especially believes in partnering with young people 13-19 years, as they are not only the emerging leaders of tomorrow, but also the leaders of today. “If one allows young people to vocalise their needs and they can address their concerns with the appropriate tools – then young people can have a profound impact on their own lives and those of their loved ones” said OVSA Communication and Fundraising Manager, Marlijn van Berne.
The OVSA School Programme provides young people with an in-depth, school-based, series of workshops that includes comprehensive sex education and life skills. Great emphasis is placed on ‘meaningful participation’ and this in turn encourages learners to believe in their ability to positively influence their futures. The programme is age-appropriate, culturally-sensitive and delivered through participatory learning activities. Supporting materials, developed with input from young people, are aligned to the HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa (NSP 2007-2011) and the National Life Orientation syllabus.
OVSA is funded by: USAID/Johns Hopkins University Project South Africa; ICCO, Oxfam and the DG Murray Trust. For more information on the work OVSA does, or to schedule an interview with the OVSA Managing Director, Dr Josianne Roma-Reardon, please call Marlijn van Berne on +27 (0)31 2020555 or email Marlijn at email@example.com