By Nobuhle Dladla
In February 2007, I started working for WhizzKids United as a Life Skills Trainer. It was a big change in my life and an eye opener of how the AIDS epidemic is threatening in South Africa and the whole world especially in young persons who get infected. I felt like I could help change, like I owed Edendale's youth a behaviour change initiation.
I've become an older sister to them, someone they can talk to since they are afraid to talk to their parents about sex and stuff. So I opened my arms to make them feel free to come and discuss every thing with me. I've changed most of their behaviours in how to take care of themselves by showing that they can be better people by working hard and standing up for themselves in order to achieve their goals. They learnt to work hard to help themselves earn some money rather than getting something in exchange for sex.
In 2009, WhizzKids granted me a chance of taking a counselling course at ATTIC for ten days which helped me a lot in how to deal with cases our children face in their daily lives. I was doing one on one counselling in schools and referred them back to Edendale Hospital if needed.
In June 2010, the WhizzKids Health Academy opened at Edendale Hospital, where I worked as Orphan and Vulnerable Children Coordinator. It was a big challenge but I worked with so much enthusiasm. I was dealing with lots of critical cases like rape, physical abuse or those who suffer from hunger. I was also doing HIV counselling where I dealt with HIV positive teenagers.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity I was given by Marcus, the CEO, and all WhizzKids stake holders. They made me who I am now. I am proud to say that now I'm working for Edendale Hospital as an HIV Counsellor due to their effort in grooming the young girl I was and the shy girl who wasn't talking at all.