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Witkoppen clinic gives youth a voice

Non-profit organisation Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre will be giving the youth a voice this June. Their Youth Advisory Board made up of 15 individuals between the ages of 16 and 24, from Diepsloot, Msawawa and Fourways, will give young people a platform to discuss the issues that directly affect them.

“Young people living in townships are often ignored. In order to ensure that this generation thrives, we must provide them with the support and encouragement they need,” says Executive Director of the clinic, Dr Jean Bassett. “At Witkoppen, we want to spend Youth Month not just celebrating young people but giving them a say in how we celebrate them.”

Initially created to provide feedback on the organisation’s youth-oriented research projects, the group quickly evolved into a secure environment where members could raise concerns about the issues prevalent in their respective areas.

“We’ve created a space where township-born youth could freely discuss the problems in their community without feeling criticised or judged. There is immense value in turning to young people for a fresh perspective on reoccurring problems – their input plays a huge role in our community outreach programmes,” says Bassett. “The selected group is incredibly diverse, with each individual bringing something unique to the table.”

The clinic runs a variety of programmes focussing on youth development, including adolescent HIV care support groups, pharmacy assistant training and skills development courses. Their most recent initiative, the YES Programme, focuses on providing young people with work experience in an effort to combat the current job crisis. “With the high unemployment rates in South Africa, equipping young people with practical skills is more important than ever,” says Bassett.

Servicing close on 10 000 patients every month, the clinic provides comprehensive healthcare to the informal settlements of Diepsloot, Msawawa and surrounding areas. As part of Youth Month celebrations, Witkoppen will be hosting a health awareness open day Friday, 14 June at the main facility at 105 William Nicol Drive Fourways and a “Know Your HIV Status” campaign at Bambanani Mall on the 15 and 16 June.

For updates on the clinic’s Youth Month activities, visit www.witkoppen.org. Interesting facts and service updates can be found on Facebook (@WitkoppenHealthandWelfareCentre) and Twitter (@Witkoppen105).

 

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Kyra Frank

kyra@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 073 1199200

 

On behalf of Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre:

Director: Dr Jean Bassett

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