News: December 2016
Helping disadvantaged young adults at Orange Farm township near Johannesburg, South Africa develop their future life visions
On 8 December 2016, Michael Pedersen facilitated a workshop for approx. 20 disadvantaged young adults at Orange Farm township near Johannesburg, South Africa. The one-day workshop was designed to help the young adults, all in their early twenties, develop their future life visions. It took place at a local community center of loveLife, a South African based NGO working to improve the lives of young people.
The workshop comprised a mix of reflection work and a series of physical exercises. The reflection work offered the young adults an opportunity to work on a fictive yet realistic case about a person like themselves, who ended up becoming a leader and role model in their community in the year 2025. The beautiful values of sport and sport as a tool for further developing important life skills played an important role in the fictive case. That was also the case in the physical exercises offered to the young adults in between the reflection work. Developed on the basis of the tools available in the Olympic Values Education Program of the International Olympic Committee, the physical exercises offered a lot of fun, engagements and opportunities for showcasing and learning about the beautiful values of sport.
When sharing their personal future life visions at the end of the workshop, the young adults were tasked to highlight aspects such as why they believed to be living a meaningful life in 2025 and why people in the community considered them role models. In their responses to the task at hand, the young adults emphasized the importance of family support, education and working in ways that makes it possible to give back to the community. They also particularly stressed values such as respect, discipline, self-awareness and self-acceptance. When sharing key takeaways from the workshop, the young adults expressed that they walked away with an appreciation of the fact the future is what they make of it. The key takeaway of especially one participant offered a summary of perspectives shared. She highlighted that the workshop “encourages me to dream, write a plan and take action.” For further details on the young adults’ future life visions and key takeaways, see galleries further below.
Orange Farm is a township located approximately 45 kilometers from Johannesburg, South Africa. It is one of the newest townships in South Africa, with the original inhabitants, laid off farm workers, taking up residency in 1988. Orange Farm covers an area of 12 square kilometers. As home to approx. 350,000 people, it is the biggest and most populous informal settlement in South Africa. 99.1 per cent of the people living in Orange Farm are black Africans speaking either Zulu or Sotho. They primarily live in shacks - mostly unskilled, seeking out a living without visible means of subsistence.
Established in 1999, loveLife is a South African based NGO working to improve the lives of young people. The organization is built on the belief that every young person is born with the potential to succeed and to be anything that (s)he wants to be. Accordingly and acknowledging that youth comprises more than 60 per cent of the population in South Africa, loveLife addresses social challenges that place young people at risk; including unemployment, gender-based violence, substance and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. The organization has touched the lives of millions of young people in South Africa. Last year alone, its programs reached 1,8 million young people in communities in all nine provinces in South Africa. One of loveLife’s youth centers (Y centers) is located at the Orange Farm township.
For further information, see the following links:
Gallery of personal life visions for the year 2025, developed by participants in the workshop
I believe that I am living a happy and meaningful life, because I finished studying something to do with media or business management, I volunteered and I did my best to make a difference in my community. I am taking care of my family and myself. I have the support of family. We live well – my mother and my brother and I. People consider me a role model, because they see that I am dedicated to my community by working for them and with them through respect, self-belief, passion, intelligence and leadership.
I am a loveLife educator, and I believe in sports in schools, clinics and NGOs. That alone requires me to be an exemplary person to my peers and people younger than me. I have a solid focus and try to be supportive. I have principles, values and morals. That makes me who I am through practice. I value dedication and competence in everything I do, especially if it is going to contribute to what I am passionate about - music and sports. I am currently a sports groundbreaker and educator. It does not feel like a job, but something I would do at any time of the day. I never run out of motivation and ideas that can help to expand it and make it more effective, interesting and worth participating in.
I live the happy life and have the best education. People look up to me as a role model, because of the way I conduct myself and the things that I do. The values that guide me are responsibility, patience, persistence, loyalty, respect, dedication and enthusiasm. I live by these principles every day, because they sum up to how I conduct myself. I have a strong support system of my family, mentors, friends, colleagues and others. I volunteer with loveLife.
I believe that I am a leader. I change my community through my hard work. Hard work goes a long way. Sometimes you need to be honest to yourself. You must accept the way you live and where you come from. Your background says a lot. Peer pressure does not help. I believe in self-confidence and self-acceptance. I must accept myself for who I am. Unfortunately, I could not go to school because of initial problems. Next year, however, I am in school, doing my best and making my mom proud.
I consider myself as living a meaningful life, because of the positive influence I have on the young generation. The community considers me as a role model to kids. I live a positive life. Because of the work I do, I teach kids to stay focused and give them direction on a way forward that empowers them and keeps them out of trouble. My values are respect, honesty, teamwork, ambition, perseverance and victory. My life today is to build my future, working with organizations, learning about life, changing the world and having a bit of fun.
My ambition to succeed enabled me to dream, to develop a positive mindset and to face challenges in South Africa as a team. It gave me the platform to face my fears and drove me towards where I belong. I belong to a group of people with the same perspective as mine, go-getters. In fact, it made me change my life. I had a different perspective of myself when I was a child, but now I realize how to keep the balance between my life and negative friends. Imagine me as someone’s role model. Imagine.
I am more independent and live a free-spirited life. Facing my challenges is not that difficult, because I am learning each and every day. I come from a small family that is very supportive and willing to help me, whenever I struggle. As a groundbreaker, life is not as hectic as other people’s lives, because I have crazy colleagues and a strong point. In fact, it is very simple. I enjoy each and every day. Education is the most important thing in my life. It builds me each and every day. I learn how to grow as a person. People see me as a role model. I am more fun, open and willing to help where I can.
I believe that I am living a happy and meaningful life, because I am giving back to the community. I have a loving, caring and kind family. In fact, it is a fabulous family, because they are supportive in everything I do. People consider me as their role model, because I am the person, who can manage my time and share my knowledge with my community without any demands. The values that guide me are my ambitions. I want accomplish my mission of changing the society. In order for me to do that, I need my values to guide my way of accomplishment. I have got a good qualification in education, and I love reading. That is where I got the experience. I believe that as a person I learn every day.
My family supports and encourages me to succeed in life. Through education, I get opportunities to get further in life and to become a role model in someone else’s life. Through work, I learn to grow, to motivate, to achieve, to take responsibility and to appreciate how diverse people are. People consider me as a role model, because I respect them. Life is good.
I am a very family-oriented person. My family comes first. Without them, I would not be where I am today. Through education, I have learned a lot of things and still believe there is always more to learn. I am currently working as a coach. My community is influenced by negativity, but I do not let that distract me. People consider me as a role model, because I am changing lives of young people in the community. Values that guide me are passion, positivity, respect, teamwork, role model, responsibility, self-esteem, leadership, ambition and learning.
I believe that I am living a meaningful life, because I am positive, contribute to my family and support young children in developing life skills. I live in a dysfunctional community, but my work makes me happy.
I am a role model in my community. I work as a coach and give my talent to other people. My family always encourages me. They show me the real potential in being a good man and how to be happy. They show me how to engage with myself and how to be myself with other people. They open my eyes to the benefit of education.
I am living a happy life, because things are going well for me. I am currently a playmaker and a football coach for children. I am about to graduate from a sport administration degree. I am a qualified first aider, I have a computer science certificate and a South African Football Association referee certificate. I am waiting to become a licensed coach. I believe that education is the key to success and want to study further. I live in a disadvantaged community. My family is values-oriented, very productive, very supportive of education and always guides me in a positive way. I am a role model, because I take children on the street to the sports ground. I believe in high ethical standards.
I am living an enjoyable and meaningful life. I set realistic and achievable goals and have support from family and friends. People consider me as a role model, because I live my life with values such as discipline and respect of others. As a human being, you have to respect your needs and always give others a chance to express themselves and embrace teamwork. I always associate myself with positive people. It helps me achieve my own goals.
To become a role is very hard. You have to be patient with your own heart and believe in who you are. You have to understand, where you are going and where you are coming from. I like to be with my family, because it always supports me and gets me everywhere. My family shows me where I come from, guides me to understand my own attitude towards other people and gives people a positive mindset of who I am. I support my community each and every day. I like the work that I am doing. Being a groundbreaker gives me a lot of support and energy to help my community in building a better future. I give people a good opportunity to better understand everything they did not know before. I lead by example, because I also learn from other people.
Gallery of individual key takeaways of some participants in the workshop
I learned today that teamwork and education are the most important things in life.
My key takeaway is that your future is in your hands. You should take responsibility for your future. You should go out and create doors, if you cannot find doors to knock on.
I take home a key learning of thinking about my life that I will be living in 2025 and celebrating the people who helped me get there.
My key takeaway is that one has to be a visionary and a change driver. The future is what I make of it, given the decisions I take today.
This encourages me to dream, write a plan and take action.
I have learned that in life you have to have your own goals.
A brief workshop video was kindly recorded and edited by Skhumbuzo Madlala from Orange Farm Y Centre loveLife