Ndwedwe town, in Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, is literally in the middle of some sugar cane fields at the end of the tarmacked road and lacks any formal roads, piped water and access to electricity.
The area has huge issues with teenage pregnancy, ‘sugar daddies’, ignorance about HIV and general sexual health, and rape is so common, it is ‘normal.’
Modelled on the Shining Star project in Zimbabwe, our partners, Crossroads, are running a peer education program in Ndwedwe, equipping 11- to 14-year-old children with the skills and knowledge to make healthy life choices. The 3 schools the team are working in have helped identify particularly at-risk youth that are prone to risky behaviour or who come from abusive homes.
The Beaded Anklet Project started last year and 5 facilitators have been meeting with 35 young people, who are engaged with sugar daddies, every week to provide relationships and sex education, skills training, mentoring, counselling and role modelling sessions.
The 5 facilitators also attended acet UK’s comprehensive relationships and sex education training earlier this year to strengthen their own knowledge and skills.
So far, two girls and two boys showed interest in starting a small business and have been provided with micro loans and equipment to get them started: one selling secondhand clothes, the others rearing chickens.
Vuyo is 13 years old and lives in a family of 4 adults and 7 children in a rondavel (hut). No one in the family is working and they live on the child support grant they receive from the government.
The Beaded Anklet Project has helped Vuyo build his confidence and the ‘Me and my money’ sessions encouraged him to start saving the little money he receives from doing chores.
The project has purchased 6 baby chicks for him, together with the sawdust and light needed to rear them, and is training Vuyo in chick rearing so he can sell the eggs or meat.
Vuyo loves playing soccer and wants to be a livestock farmer. With the money he makes he wants to build a house for his mother.
He will be able to use the money he earns to buy more chicks or to breed chicks to ensure that the enterprise is self-sustainable.