Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-Teenagers have praised the Star for life (SFL) organisation for creating a youth-friendly environment to discuss issues such as teenage pregnancy, HIV infections and career guidance.
According to the teenagers, topics such teenage pregnancy and HIV are taboo in many households, while others felt that despite there being communication channels they would most likely not discuss such issues with their parents. The organisation took 92 teenagers and nine guidance teachers on an informative peer educators camp last week in Swakopmund. The interactive camp was attended by teenagers from Ohangwena, Otjozondjupa, Hardap and //Kharas regions for them to gain much needed knowledge on issues affecting their everyday lives.
The aim of the camp was also to enrich learners with life skills, empower them to be great leaders and for them to have well-rounded knowledge in comprehensive sexual education and other social issues pertaining to the health of young people.
The uniqueness of the camp, according to the learners, was that they could speak about teenage pregnancies, HIV and Aids, peer pressure and career guidance without feeling intimidated.
Iyaloo Hamutenya told New Era she appreciated the fact that the life coaches who gave the much-needed insight on social issues they face were young adults themselves.
“I think the highlight of the trip for me was that I could speak to someone that understands exactly what I am going through. I don’t think that we would have been so comfortable with teenage pregnancies, HIV and Aids and sex if our life coaches were older adults. Where I come from I cannot discuss such issues with my parents or elder sisters,” she said.
According to life skills coach Christine Joao, the idea of the organisation is to provide especially school-going young people with enough knowledge to make well-informed decisions through school-based life skills programmes to prevent and reduce the risk of new HIV infections among the youth.
“We use a very holistic approach through the means of young adults to deal with the youth as this type of approach creates a very friendly, open avenue and interactive environment for us to get the message across.”
She explained that those who attended the camp are now required to go back to their various schools and share the knowledge gained with their peers.
SFL is a non-profit organisation based in Namibia, South Africa and Sweden. It was launched in 2007 as a school-based HIV and AIDS prevention programme that provides young people with information that will motivate them to make informed decisions and help reduce the risk of new HIV infections. SFL uses a holistic approach to address social issues and psychological and educational problems.