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Last modified: January 26, 2013, 9:31 PM
Child Care SA is a child protection and youth development initiative, which seeks to enhance the capacity of young people in rural areas in KwaZulu Natal through facilitating their participation to ensure the protection of their dignity, rights and well-being, and to develop their self-esteem, talents and skills. The initiative was established in 1995. It started as a project and has grown from strength to strength over the past 18 years.
In 2007 it was awarded the Jet Community Award in the category We Care.
We strive to create a society where the rights and well-being of children and youth are protected, and they have the opportunities and encouragement to develop into responsible, self-sufficient adults who are able to contribute positively to society and break the cycle of povert
The situation of young people in uThungulu District
We are currently working in rural region of the Province of KwaZulu Natal under Uthungulu District. uThungulu District Municipality is located in the north-eastern region of the KwaZulu-Natal province on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. It covers an area of approximately 8213 square kilometres, which is exacerbated by the geographical characteristics of mountainous terrains and large distances between our rural areas.
Uthungulu has a large population of young people, yet with no specific programmes that seek to address their needs are comparable with their population. Child Care SA recently conducted a baseline study to understand issues affecting adolescents and youth in our specific project catchment area in Uthungulu.
A total of 104 interviews were conducted in the first round of this study. 21 of these were group interviews. A total of 44 interviews were conducted with individuals below the age of 30. Another 21 were between 30 and 39. The 21 group interviews included 249 individuals. 17 of the groups – and thus the majority of participants – were youth. 59 interviews were about HIV/AIDS, 63 about drug and alcohol abuse and 45 about teen pregnancy.
What are some of the factors influencing the spread of HIV/AIDS among youth?
Study indicates that the present day information programmes are successful in spreading information but that information is insufficient to lower the rates of infection. The response to our questionnaires suggests that people are willing to share neutral knowledge but less willing to share personal experience.
So, what might the reasons be for the increase in prevalence locally?
Can it be that stigma around HIV and AIDS, including fear of the consequences of openness, leads people to state that they know no one who is HIV positive, that they can't tell their friends and even when they tell those who are close to them they do so indirectly? Can stigma and fear around this topic lead to people wanting to talk about it and inform in neutral community information meetings rather than sitting down and talking with their children, their parents or their peers directly and openly? It seems easier to talk about it in a depersonalized way, as something that is about others, or about science, than to sit down and share one's own pain, doubt and experience with others. Stigma means "shame", "disgrace", "dishonour", "humiliation" or "a sign of social unacceptability". All of these things could be a reason for the reticence described above.
2. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
Are youth in uThungulu District aware of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and the possible effect on their potential for having a positive and healthy lifestyle? What are some of the factors that influence the decision to use drugs and alcohol among youth?
So, what influences them?
3. TEENAGE PREGNANCY
Some reasons, suggested being used or falling in love with older people with money, drinking (and doing something you didn't aim to do), peer pressure, lack of access to birth control, poverty, poor sex education, bad behaviour and access to grant money
The study has shown us that while much work is done to address these issues in the community. The lack of participation of the youth in resolving the problems will increase these challenges.
Most young people within the area where the study was done, identified STRESS, as a major cause for most of the social problems that are affecting. Due to the following facts:
Upon comparison of these two data sets, Child Care South Africa has developed several different approaches. We believe the most effective way to address these problems is to begin with the youth.
This baseline study was done in 2012 and has informed our two programs specifically the Shomies in Action and Vuleka be wise programs. feel free to write to us for update or advice on how we could facilitate and support the communities for overcome these issues.