Originally supported by Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg, the Youth Ambassador Program allows young South Africans aged 15-18 to advocate the interests of children in their communities. The program teaches South African adolescents from impoverished communities how to articulate the interests of their contemporaries, and to speak about problems in their communities.
The Youth Ambassadors become the children’s voice. They know the situation of the often forgotten orphans first hand, and have experienced similar childhoods. They are active in the communities on the children’s behalf, speak about their issues and help to adapt the aid programs of our partner Heartbeat to the children’s needs. For that purpose, they organize child and youth forums, arrange educational events in their communities and discuss topics like HIV/Aids and abuse, as well as ways to elude poverty.
Despite economic development, the majority of South Africans live in townships or villages, in which they frequently have no access to either electricity or running water. According to UNAIDS, every day 800 – 1000 people die from the consequences of AIDS in South Africa. Mostly children and adolescents are left behind and grow up without parents, support or care. The program reaches 45.000 Aids orphans in South Africa.
While the Youth Ambassadors work in the communities, the members of Heartbeat look after the young grown-ups and train them continuously. The program enables young South Africans to speak up and find solutions for the problems of their generation themselves.
Together with its South African partner Heartbeat, Go Ahead! initiated the Youth Ambassador Program. In 2009, Landesstiftung Baden Württemberg supported the program with over 15.000€. Since then, the program has received support from Open Air Freunde Empfenbach and the NGO Dance4Life.
As a young organization, it is of paramount importance for Go Ahead! to encourage young people in other parts of the world! The Youth Ambassador Program gives young South Africans the chance to form their society and play a part in it - in the same thing we try to do in Germany.
In several professional workshops, the Youth Ambassadors learn how to correctly explain and articulate problems, as well as the ability to lead other adolescents and find solutions for conflicts. Help to make these workshops possible and to give orphans a voice!