Byline: Refeloe Letsoisa

16 November 2022

The Global Fund (GF) has chosen the Evander-based non-profit Highveld East Aids Project Support (HEAPS) to conduct the Adolescent Young People (AYP) program, formerly known as the AGYW/ABYM, in the Goven Mbeki sub-district on behalf of the Aids Foundation of South Africa (AFSA).

The project’s goals include reducing gender-based violence, raising economic opportunities and decreasing HIV incidence.
HEAPS launched Safe Space at Isiphephelo Multi-Purpose Center behind Paulina Morapedi clinic in Ext 19, Embalenhle on Friday, 11 November 2022.

Safe Space introduced the program and services it will offer to the community.

HEAPS member highly recommend Safe Space especially for teenagers who are still in school.

It helps individuals who suffer with school work such as assignments and choosing subjects according to their career choices.

There are social workers who help individuals who face certain issues at home with their parents.

“Boys are allowed to come and stop believing that boys don’t cry,” said Mxolisi Nhlapo.

Safe Space helps individuals who have matriculated in applying at tertiary, internships, bursaries and curriculum vitae (CV) making.

He further stated that young people must be aware of their mental health on a daily basis as it affects our emotional,
psychological, and social well-being.

Mental illness also affects how we think, feel and act and also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

“Taking care of your mental health at an early age keeps you away from experiencing depression,” he said.

Mxolisi also stated that although if you are abused at home or struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, HEAPS can help you without paying anything and he’s grateful of how the team treats people with kindness and always willing to help.Safe Space invited stakeholders from different organizations namely; the SAPS from eMbalenhle, Mpumalanga Addiction Rehabilitation Center (MARC), Lerato Nogabe Foundation and teachers from chosen schools.

The stakeholders also introduced their services offered to community members and how they help one grow and make right choices determining their future.

Nokthula, social worker at MARC advised young people to stop smoking hubbly-bubbly because it affects their lungs and other internal organs more than smoking cigarettes.

“However, it is advisable not to inhale any smoke whether cigarettes, weed, hubbly-bubbly to prevent yourself from getting sick,” said Nokthula.

Nurse Lina Ndlela, one of the nurses from HEAPS explained how the process works after testing for HIV/AIDS, they help both negative and positive people.

“Some people were born with the disease but their parents don’t tell them the truth,” said nurse Ndlela.

She further explained that people with HIV/AIDS continue with their lives normally especially after accepting that they are affected and taking their medication as prescribed.

“I am so grateful for HEAPS because it managed to keep us from streets and helping us with school work and providing us with their free WIFI,” said Sbongile when giving her testimony of how HEAPS has helped her.

Mxolisi Nhlapo expressed his special gratitude to all stakeholders and everyone who attended their event in order to help young kids in the community and taking them out of streets to build their bright future ahead.