I am Teboho Thomas, nineteen years of age. I am currently a first year student at University of Johannesburg, studying for a BA degree in Sport Communication. I am a highly self-motivated, focused, enthusiastic, down to earth and respectful person. I have a superb work ethic and I am driven by excellence and integrity. I have good interpersonal skills, I am friendly and I always put in an extra effort in everything I do.
Being part of Kliptown Youth Program has helped me a lot personally and academically. Being part of the after school educational programme helped me pass my matric. The organisation has given me the opportunity to pursue my studies at higher education. I was also a grade five tutor for a year, which also played a prominent role in empowering myself by helping me to develop leadership skills.
There are so many challenges that we as youth are facing. There is high rate of unemployment, poverty, crime, teenage pregnancy, HIV & AIDS and substance abuse. I think we can decrease the spread of HIV and AIDS by starting support groups, where we will educate one another about the disease, the impact it brings to our lives and community as a whole. Youth should work hand in hand with the department of health and help distribute condoms to taverns and spaza shops around the community. Infected people should be encouraged to live positively and take anti retroviral treatment (ARVs) and counselling must be provided. It is really important to do HIV & AIDS tests to know our status and abstain from sexual intercourse. Remember, prevention is better than a cure.
We as a youth we can alleviate poverty by working hard at school and getting high marks as this increases our chances of getting bursaries to help us further our studies at higher institutions. Youth can empower themselves by attending educational workshops like the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), which offers training for those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. It also offers job preparedness workshops, which increases the chance of becoming employed. The Sectoral Education and Training Authority (SETA) also offers learnerships through the skills development act. Youth can make a living using their God given talents.
Counselling and rehabilitation should be provided to those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. The community must work together with the police and help by identifying drug dealers so that they can be arrested and be removed to the community. We can also help the community by being patrollers and create a crime free community and live peacefully. We should also make our education a priority. Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. Those who were not able to finish their grade twelve can be encouraged to go to FET colleges as they take learners from grade nine. They also offer free bursaries. Some can attend adult school.
We can encourage those who still have age on their side to go back to public school and finish their grade twelve. There should be a career guidance centre in the community that will help us make wise decisions about our careers. Career research will help us choose good careers and subjects in grade ten. It will provide us with information about the higher institutions which offer courses which we intend to do, application procedures, and how and where we can get financial assistance, such as scholarships, bursaries, and loans (National Student Financial Aid Scheme, ‘‘NSFAS’’). There should also be a library in the community because this will increase our chances to excel in our studies. We can do our research and study there peacefully without any disturbance.
It is clearly visible that there are so many challenges that the youth face, but each and every problem has a solution. We can all unite and work together to improve our standard of living. It is very important to take our studies seriously. Life is all about choices, so it is important to make good decisions and take full responsibility about the choices we make. Remember, the decisions you make today determine the future you create for yourself tomorrow. So choose wisely.