Every day over 500 youths, aged 4-26, pass through Africa Direction’s 3 community centers, assessing a wide range of services including sports, peer education, drama, sexual reproductive health services and information, voluntary counseling and testing, legal advice, life skills trainings and a host of other clubs and recreation activities aimed to build the capacity, skills, and confidence of the individuals we serve.
Most young people who come to Africa Directions come from disadvantaged homes and face many barriers to success. Many youth are coming from HIV affected families, are single or double orphans, and struggle financially. Often youth are forced to drop out of school due to lack of money or support and are left to loiter in the streets. Girls are especially at-risk due to a host of cultural and social issues that leave them out of receiving vital information needed to equip one to make decisions about their life.
At AD we reach out to those who are most at-risk and often slip through the cracks of our schools and social welfare systems. We offer an encouraging environment, in which we inspire, build up and support young people in the community. To instill behavior change in youth, information is given in combination with a range of life skills within a fun and conducive environment. Theatre, games, and other forms of positive recreation are used to educate and encourage children and youth, contributing to their positive mental, psychosocial, and physical development. AD provides equal opportunities for both girls and boys by mainstreaming sexual reproductive health and gender issues in all programs and activities.
The same young people who live within the community run each center; they are mentored into positions as peer educators and program officers to give them the skills and knowledge necessary for future employment. Whenever possible AD looks for employment and/or income generating activities for youth so that they can pay school fees and to reduce their burden. They also look for opportunities to partner with other organizations, exposing young people to a diverse group of people and possibilities.
Through community outreaches, collaborations with schools, stakeholder meetings, and partnerships with other local organizations, AD works to create an integrated and cohesive response to the needs and challenges youth face in the community.
Our programs have evolved with the needs of our young people, but our goal remains the same — giving youth a chance to reach their potential.