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: