Life Skill Program Restores Positive Behaviors Amongst South African Youth
Life skills program restores positive behaviours amongst South African youth.
As home to the second largest provincial population in the country, KwaZulu Natal bears the heaviest burden when it comes to socioeconomic matters, HIV/AIDS and unemployment. And the youth is the hardest hit group. Apart from having to deal with peer pressure, young people also grapple with different forms of abuse.
With this in mind, World Vision South Africa has partnered with other like-minded organisations to restore children and prepare them to be responsible and successful adults. Started in 2010, the Value Based Life Skills program has already produced results.
Initially formed as a school-based empowerment initiative, the program has evolved to include church and community-based activities, psycho-social support, training and materials development at the provincial level, as well as an advocacy initiative to influence policy and implementation of guidance and counseling in schools.
For Zamokuhle, 16, the program has helped him get excited about life and deal with challenges he faces at home head-on.
“I don’t think I’d still be alive if VBLS was not introduced to me. Last year, there was so much going on at home as a result of my parent’s divorce. I survived all that because I was already empowered with coping measures for stressful situations,” he said.
Over 80 per cent of primary and secondary schools reached by VBLS report increased volume in morale regeneration. Positive behaviour change among students, increased abstinence from sex (three months of incidence of sex fell from 24 per cent to 7 per cent over a four year period; pregnancy-related dropout in schools reduced by 60 per cent), and reduced incidence of drug abuse in schools reached by the program.
“VBLS targets the all-round development of a person. We’ve been taught about discipline, manners, self-control, politeness, strength. My favourite topic was ‘self-love and care’,” said grade 10 learner, Inathi, adding how he views speaking the truth and not stealing as key towards becoming a good citizen.
“Young people need value-based abilities to cope with life’s challenges. And we believe that if the young people are empowered with life skills, they are able to make the right choices through situational analysis, critical thinking and making informed decisions, thereby avoiding risky behaviour and reducing their vulnerability,” said World Vision’s Zanele Mchunu.