A story from a participant of VBLS

Values Based Life Skills (VBLS)

Through our in-country partner, the Philakahle Wellbeing Centre, AAF financially supports projects in the Okhahlamba Municipality of Kwa-Zulu Natal Province in South Africa.

The VBLS program, aimed at orphans and other vulnerable children and youth seeks to reinforce adolescents’ personal risk perception and self esteem, help children and youth cope with peer pressure and personal emotions, provide skills in areas of assertiveness, communication and decision making, educate participants in their right to live free from abuse and exploitation, instil compassion and anti-disrimination and espouse the virtues of Christian values.

I am Mbekezeli Mtambo I stay in Bethany one of the villages in Bergville. I am 20 years old and I have completed my grade 12 in 2015. I tried to further my studies this year but it did not work out well. This year I am at home with the hope that next year I will be able to go to tertiary to further my studies. I am from the poor family who is struggling to make a living; no one is working a stable job in my family. One of the things that I thought I need to do was to steal to help my family to have something to eat. I did not like what I was doing but it was the means I can make to have food in our table. I was not doing well in my school work, had no vision for my life, I was just living but my life was going the wrong direction when I met the VBLS team. At first it was difficult for me to believe the hope they were giving to us because of the suffering I was going through. The first thing that I was told was that life begins and ends with God , I need to put God first in all that I was doing because He knows who I am and the struggles I am going through. I was told that God is closer to me than any brother. I have learnt to value my life and the life of others.

I need to take responsibility for my behaviour and the outcome of my life. That is when I started to change my friends and my priorities also changed. The way I was looking at life also changed. I now put God first in my life I have good friends and have the determination to move forward with my life in a way that God designed for me. I am moving towards the fulfilment of my dreams. Because of the help I have received from the VBLS I am now leading the group of young people who are in our community in our youth club. We formed the youth club to keep young people busy with good things that will keep them away from wrong practices. In our youth club we are involved in projects that are aimed at changing our community. In 2015 we organized an initiative where on the Mandela day we used the 67 minutes to clean the environment in our community picking up papers aiming at making our environment clean. We have other projects that we will be doing in our community to keep the young people committed all the time to the good things. I have more courage to face life than I was before I met VBLS.

Mbekezeli Mtambo – a participant in VBLS