According to Stats SA (2013), HIV is prevalent in 10% of the population with “the total number of people living with HIV estimated at approximately 5.26 million in 2013” (p. 3). The report states that “for adults aged 15–49 years, an estimated 15.9% of the population is HIV positive” (Stats SA, 2013, p. 3). Efforts to provide HIV/AIDS education varies from simple informal talks and fliers to very detailed and focused programs. While on my internship to Port Elizabeth (PE), we (the other interns and I) toured the LoveLife Center in PE. The experience was life changing not only for the services that they provided for HIV/AIDS education, but their structure and programming is a model for every facet of an After-School Community Program.
Since 1999, the LoveLife Center is the largest youth, leadership, lifeskills and sexuality program in South Africa, and is funded by various National Departments, International Foundations, and businesses such as Volkswagen (Louw & McLean, 2014). The dynamics of this program in PE is amazing! At the center the learners in the area are able to get HIV/AIDS and pregnancy testing as well as counseling and other wrap-around services that may not be available within their townships or schools. LoveLife Center also actively engages the youth of the area by providing sports/team opportunities, entrepreneurship and craft/trade development, visual and performing arts expression, as well as an onsite radio station. Throughout all of these opportunities, the Center’s Director, Themba Maseti, and the staff use charismatic leadership and the resources and activities at their disposal to get the youth of South Africa to understand that life is always on play, never on pause (Louw & McLean, 2014). The leadership team of the center also ensures that the message of safe choices is always mentioned along with the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
This post serves as an introduction to several posts of pictures of the interactions we had at the LoveLife Center. This is truly an amazing program that can greatly influence the effectiveness of other afterschool community based programs. No one with direct experience with South Africa can deny that learners “with weak extended family links, a reasonable indicator of lower levels of social capital, may be particularly vulnerable to educational disadvantage and may have greater need for special support” (Schierhout, 2005, pp. 611-612) with HIV/AIDS education.
Louw, A. C. & McLean, N. (2014) Uncut, 90.
Schierhout, G. H. Education outcomes and household illness and death in the South African school setting. South African Journal of Economics, 73, 600-612.
Stats SA. (2013). Mid-year population estimates 2013. Retrieved from http://www.statssa.gov.za/Publications/P0302/P03022013.pdf