FXB in action
FXB started working in South Africa in 2000, focusing on education and life skills development for youth. In 2016, almost 500 young people benefited from FXB’s activities in the country:
After School – Life Skills Programs
Many have lost one or both parents to the AIDS pandemic. While the impact of this loss differs among families and communities, one thing is certain – a child’s life often goes out of steam during such an event. Struggling for survival, families are not always able to provide adequate care and education for children, who are therefore often exposed to malnutrition and abuse. In addition, they are at risk of contracting HIV themselves.
FXB has therefore been developing school support programs in Shanty towns around Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as in the rural area of Witbank.
The after-school programs specifically address the mental distress of children and young people. Beyond the educational, nutritional and recreational support, considerable educational resources are provided. These are especially oriented towards children’s rights, sexual and reproductive health, self-respect and respect for others, information on and prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and violence
The programs aim to limit the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of children, but also to enable them to cope better with daily life and plan for the future. They also aim to generate behavior change within communities, through young people themselves.
Youth Clubs are also established to allow the older children to be actively involved in the planning and implementation of the After School – Life Skills programs.
To ensure the sustainability of the programs’ impacts, FXB Youth Clubs composed of former participants are established. FXB encourages them to become part of After School – Life Skills programs as peer educators. They are also encouraged to take an active role in their communities and to help their neighbors through visits to orphanages, retirement homes, hospices or centers for the disabled.
These young people are particularly creative and active. For example, they have been hosting a weekly radio show for several years, and collecting their stories and poems in two publications entitled “Irisdescent Reflections” and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”.
Vocational Training project
A Vocational Training project is intended for young people who have attended the After School – Life Skills programs. It includes theoretical and practical training in areas such as computing, masonry, tiling and flooring, joinery and carpentry, upholstery and design. All participants are also trained in project management. At the end of their training, youth receive help to find a job within a company or to start their own micro-enterprise. (This project is currently on hold)
Since 1994 and the end of the apartheid, South Africa has enjoyed a stable economy and GDP growth. However, important social and economic disparities prevail: living standards vary highly between different population groups as well as between urban and rural communities.
With 7 million people infected in 2015, South Africa is the country with the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS. The disease resulted in thousands of orphans and vulnerable children.
Moreover, the majority of black children – nearly 60% – live in extreme poverty, characterized by malnutrition, crime, all forms of violence, alcoholism and drug abuse.
Even though South Africa has made critical investments in education, performance levels are lower than in many other countries in the region and the quality of education remains poor. Many children experience a broken journey through school, interrupted by irregular attendance, absent teachers, teenage pregnancy and school-related abuse and violence.
Youth unemployment is one of the country’s major socioeconomic challenges. With over 50% youth unemployment, South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for young people (World Economic Forum, 2014).