Commemorating Youth Month with Thulani Machere

Change in itself means growth, and in growth we transform, not only by the standards set by those that came before us, but by the very choices we make to continue fighting for an all-inclusive society where all of us have a voice.” Thulani Machere, Adolescent and Young People: Specialist at Anova Health Institute talks about the importance of youth sustainability in our society.

What does Youth Month mean to you?

This month serves as a weapon of empowerment, and it is a month where young people took back their power and chose liberation over oppression. In one word FREEDOM!

What does this year’s Youth Month Theme mean to you “Promoting sustainable livelihood and resilience of young people for a better tomorrow”.

Change in itself means growth and in growth, we transform, not only by the standards set by those that came before us but by the very choices we make to continue fighting for an all-inclusive society where all of us have a voice.

What kind of challenges do you think the youth of today are currently facing?

The battles are internal, pressure from society to become what society prescribes, few employment opportunities that speak to talents, lack of resilience when exposed to substance use and abuse as well as challenges that put them at risk of HIV infection and unplanned pregnancies.

What programmes does Anova Health Institute have to cater for the youth?

The DREAMS programme caters for youth’s health needs as well as psychosocial needs. This programme aims to work with the youth to support them realise the goal of being an HIV-free generation. This is achieved mainly through the provision of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which is one pill a day to prevent HIV infection.  Through our partnership with the Department of Health, we provide services to respond to psychological as well as emotional needs while working closely with other DREAMS partners to ensure economic empowerment and access to other social services that young people need.

Where can the youth access these programmes and also where can they engage with Anova Health Institute?

We have a Facebook page dedicated to youth, @MyFutureFirst, a two-way engagement where you can talk to us about anything including questions about sex, readiness, and protecting yourself against pregnancy and HIV. We are also at public health clinics in Johannesburg, Sedibeng, Cape Town, Capricorn and Mopani, where you can ask for our adolescent and youth friendly staff.

What advice or final message would you like to give to the youth on this youth day?

Today happens once, you live in this day only once, make sure that you make every day count. Stay sober enough to remember it, stay alert to see the opportunities around you and take ownership by not living for anyone else but you. You are valid @MyFutureFirst.

Power to the Future

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