HIGHLIGHTS OF SOUTH AFRICA
When I think about South Africa, I think about the miles and miles spent in the car driving from place to place and my face towards the window, lost in complete admiration for the beauty of the landscape.
Thanks to this project, I had the opportunity to visit different places of South Africa which helped me getting a better idea of the whole country and its own problems.
LIMPOPO – MPUMALANGA : TVEP & SOUL CITY
In Limpopo, which is the northest part of South Africa, I visited TVEP that thanks to the support received by the EU, has started a programme that aims to raise awareness about sexual assualt, child abuse, HIV and human rights. One of the highlight from this project was to hear that, thanks to this project the level of violence has been reduced along with the teen pregnancies.
(I have been meeting and connecting with amazing people during this project. This is Ellen from TVEP, with a beautiful and caring soul).
After Limpopo, I went to Mpumalanga which literally means “the place where the sun rises” in the Swazi, and that is where I started becoming more familiar with the different languages : Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. What was really interesting for me was to listen to Xhosa, a language which famously has fifteen click sounds that are incredible difficult to reproduce!
Here I visited SOUL CITY that, thanks to the funds received by the EU, is empowering many young women and girls through different initiatives. Starting from creating spaces in schools called ” RISE CLUBS” where girls can express themselves, share stories and learn about important topics such as sexual health reproductive system, HIV and gender equality.
It was also really inspiring and motivating , meeting some of the young women that are volunteering for the project with the intention to advocate campaigns that address struggles and discriminations that young girls and women face everyday in the community they live in.
(This is Hlanga, from Soul City. It was so inspiring and empowering chatting with her about what the project has achieved so far and listening to the gratitude that the organization feel towards the EU)
COFFEE BAY : A PARADISE ON EARTH
Probably one of my favourite places in the World now. I literally loved everything about this place.
Starting from the hills, the colours of the landscape, the immensity of the mountains to every single blade of grass. Literally everything. I had a chance to reconnect with Mother Nature which is one of the things that I love the most when travelling.
I was taken around Coffee Bay by Isaac, one of the tour guides from Open Africa which is an organization that supports eco-tourism, stimulates rural development by leveraging communities’ collective tourism assets and enhances the conservation of the place by educating local people about their environment as a potential wealth creator.
(The Hole in the Wall)
(Isaac painting my face with some UMDIKI, red soil which is used for many rituals here in South Africa and considered holy and healing)
CHILDREN’S RADIO FOUNDATION : GUN FREE SOUTH AFRICA /
From Coffee Bay, I went to Alice to visit CHILDREN’S RADIO FOUNDATION a project that aims to raise awareness among young people around issues of violence with a particular focus on gun violence, which is very common in South Africa. Thanks to this initiative, many young women and men have the opportunity to have a voice about issues such as violence but also HIV, AIDS, teen pregnancies, human rights and community safety.
RESTLESS : UNLEASHING THE POWER OF YOUTH
I also had the opportunity to go to East London to visit the RESTLESS project, funded by EU and Big Lottery Fund , which aims to empower Youth by focusing on four areas :
2- Life skills
3- Gender based violence
4- SRH – Sexual Health Reproductive
Work in this goal area focuses on supporting young people on pathways to both employment in the formal sector and to self-employment by providing a combination of activities including livelihoods and entrepreneurship trainings, supporting young people to take up further education, and in business and financial literacy.
Restless Development South Africa works with young people to ensure that communities are better able to respond to both long-term and immediate challenges. Despite South Africa’s rapid economic development, in the Eastern Cape 50% of young people are unemployed and the HIV prevalence rate for young people is 19% against a national average of 12%. Restless Development South Africa is generating youth-led research, where young people take on leadership roles in communities across the Eastern Cape to support community solutions to ingrained problems, such as gender based violence.
I had the opportunity to sit in during in class, and listen to a lesson about STI (Sexual trasmitted infections) and STD (sexual trasmitted disease) and I was very impressed with the work of the volunteers and the efficient way in which they are able to engange the students.
(One of the volunteer raising awareness about STI and STD. Volunteer live in the community for 9 months)
I have a couple of more projects to visit in Capetown and heading to my next destination next Monday, so stay tuned!