2012 was the year that saw my lifetime dream become a reality, where I had the greatest experience of my life.
I had the chance to deliver Life Skills sessions to a high school named Sukuma Comprehensive High School. It was my first time working with high school students and I was worried about what the behaviour of grade ten students would be like as they are becoming adolescents. Working together with my partner Neli, she helped me to adapt to the high school’s environment and understand the behaviour of the pupils there.
Doing Life Skills at the same time as sending HIV & AIDS awareness messages to the kids and the youth of Edendale is one of the most important things to me. These days, youth die due to not using protection if they are sexually active and failing to go to Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). The job I do is fun and also very useful for the community. It has taken me to faraway places I never thought I’d go to but had always wished and imagined myself spending a day or two there.
The UNOSDP gave out forms to apply to a camp in Switzerland. I applied and was one of the chosen participants to join the camp and get the chance to go out and represent WhizzKids United. I used the opportunity to learn about leadership skills and how to go about making the kids have fun and learn at the same time to help them understand the messages better. A number of different NGOs who run similar Life Skills programmes to ours that promote awareness to youth in communities were at the camp. Where WhizzKids use football as a tool to educate youth in Edendale, the other NGOs use sports such as Basketball, Table Tennis and Judo. The camp was very helpful for me because it showed me that if you want to be a good coach or a good Life Skills trainer then you should know that you will be faced with different kinds of kids and so it is important to recognise any behavioural changes when working with them.
The skills and knowledge the UNOSDP gave to me was invaluable and I have added some of my own ideas to accommodate everyone. If a child is disabled, I can use the skills I learnt to help that child adapt to any situation he/she is in and include them in our activities. The camp was good and I learnt how to work in a team and with young people much better. As a Mixed Gender League (MGL) coach, I have applied my skills when working with the kids and have found that it helped me to connect and understand them more. As it is said, ‘To be a good leader, Lead by example’. The MGL of 2012 wasn’t as good as I had hoped due to it being the holidays where kids go out to visit their relatives. However, I have personally planned for this year and have thought about how I could make it a success by recruiting more kids, giving them health education, gathering them together to educate and support them and help them to know their HIV status. This year I hope that the job I do will help the kids to make the right decisions at the right time.
I hope to target more youth this year and help them... All the best to the year 2013.