loveLife’s Youth Leadership Exchange Breakfast Briefing was held on 15 May 2014 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. Attended by representatives of various embassies, corporates and development agencies, the aim of the breakfast was to foster an interest in partnering with loveLife to give its groundBREAKERs (peer motivators and community mobilisers) the opportunity to participate in exchange programmes to various nations.

Speaking at the breakfast, loveLife CEO Grace Matlhape, said that loveLife’s greatest contribution to South Africa are groundBREAKERs who are leaders in their communities through implementing the organisation’s healthy sexuality and positive lifestyle programmes. loveLife is a cutting edge, highly visible South African organisation with a proven evidence-based record in reducing HIV risk among youth.

“loveLife’s exchange programme builds young people to be leaders in South Africa and leaders of the world,” she added. “The programme is about achieving change in the world and giving young people the chance to know about other countries and cultures, while being exposed to leadership in the broader sense.”

Through loveLife’s exchange programme, loveLife groundBREAKERs have had the opportunity to volunteer in social upliftment NGOs in Burgandy, France since 2012. A joint venture between Service Civique, a French institution responsible for voluntary civic service and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the South Africa-France Exchange Programme, gives 10 youth from Western Cape communities – including Khayelitsha, Langa and New Cross Roads – the opportunity to volunteer in France for six months. In turn, a group of French youth volunteer at loveLife and various other NGOs within the Western Cape over a six month period. Page 2 of 3 In 2013, six youth – including four loveLife groundBREAKERs – had the chance to volunteer in schools and social organisations in Dresden, Germany for six months.

This amazing opportunity came about through a partnership between the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and loveLife.

During the breakfast, a DVD showcasing the volunteers enriching experiences in Germany was broadcast to the delegates. It displayed their work, showed them sightseeing around the beautiful city of Dresden, relaxing with German youth and participating in arts and culture festivals.

Jabulani Nzimande, who hails from Soweto, was part of the group who went on exchange to Germany. He made a heartfelt presentation to the delegates, saying it was a life changing, eye-opening experience that exposed him to new ideas. Since returning to South Africa, he has set up a pen pal initiative between Saint Afra, the school he worked with in Germany, and South African youth. He is also hard at work on a fundraising project to send other youth on exchange to Germany.

The programme line-up included a talk by Busisiwe Duna from Philippi in the Western Cape. She was one of the first participants of the South Africa/France Exchange Programme in 2012. While in Dijon, France she volunteered on a campus radio station and planned events at the Human Beatbox Festival. In fact, her France experience helped carve her career path and she is now studying towards a qualification in Public Relations.

“In France, I learned to be independent and that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it,” she said. “Sometimes it was hard to communicate with others, but I learned to persevere.”

Bernd Appelt, the Programme Manager: Multi-sector HIV and AIDS Programme at GIZ, highlighted that exchange programmes are a platform for participants to create a vision to uplift their own lives and society.

In her presentation, Tine Cornillie, the Programme Manager at the NYDA, said that the France/South Africa Exchange Programme was about enhancing skills development, patriotism and social cohesion: “Exchange programmes open people’s minds towards being more accepting to other people and cultures. I hope to continue our long and successful partnership with loveLife and give an international experience to youth.”

In closing the breakfast, loveLife’s Executive Manager: Youth Programmes, Dr. Andile Dube, encouraged delegates to partner with loveLife and support its exchange programme. “Exchange programmes break global boundaries, challenge stereotypes, bring hope and give youth a platform to engage with different cultures,” she said. “They also help them to get in touch with who they are and what they want to be.”

You can watch the trailer of the German Exchange Programme on: at: https://youtu.be/Y18YUwu2huI

For a full copy of this interesting and intriguing documentary, contact: loveLife journalist, Thandiwe McCloy on (011) 523 – 1000 or thandiwe@lovelife.org.za

If you would like to support loveLife’s exchange programmes, please contact:
Peggy Pillay loveLife’s Executive Manager: Business Development on (011) 523 – 1000 or peggy.pillay@lovelife.org.za
Andile Dube loveLife’s Executive Manager: Youth Programmes on (011) 523 – 1000 or adube@lovelife.org.za