Folweni High School, South Africa 2015 – ONGOING
Lööf Foundation is on a three year journey with Star for Life in which we will support Folweni High School in Durban, South Africa. Our goal in this project is to reduce the spread of HIV, while at the same time strengthen the children’s self-esteem and a belief in a future where their dreams can come true.
– Yellow! I go for my dreams!
– Red! AIDS free, that’s me!
– Black! I decide!
– Green! I am committed!
– Blue! I make it possible!
Lööf Foundation has decided to support one of the high schools in Durban, called Folweni High School for a period of three years. Under the supervision of 50 teachers, 1510 students attend the school. Approximately 60% of the students are orphans, mostly due to AIDS. For those who live with their parents, the unemployment rate is 85% so it is still very tough for them. Approximately 30–40% of the students themselves are HIV positive, a harsh reality. The goal is primarily to decrease the spread of HIV through education, and awareness. As well as to heighten children’s self-esteem and to empower them in their daily lives, which is often challenging to do. During our first visit in February 2015 we handed out pencil cases, which were appreciated.
One issue that is prominent are teenage pregnancies, which is often a result of rape. According to the school’s principal who is very committed to the well being of his students, reports that three to four girls per year quit school because of this. In 2001, when he started working at the school, there were 400 students, no electricity and no water. Today there are 1510 students, fresh water and a computer room. Every student also gets a free meal at lunchtime and the school lunch is served from buckets.
The weekly menu consists of:
Monday: Rice & soy sauce
Tuesday: Corn oatmeal and beans
Wednesday: Fish and rice
Thursday: Mashed corn and beans
Friday: Fish and rice
CHILDHOOD IN THE PRESENCE OF HIV
There are many cultural issues, for example it is very common for teenagers to have multiple sexual partners. A key factor to reach the children is knowledge and constant information. Hopefully the information will reach the older generation, even if it takes a while. Sexuality is not something you speak of with your parents in this area. There are workshops and wellness programs and also mobile units for testing or to receive medication, for example medication for the children who are HIV positive. It is not an easy task though, to get young people or children to attend. Star for Life is trying to raise the children’s awareness and knowledge by implementing information in schools with good help from the Star for Life coaches.
Star for Life has seen many improvements in their schools so far. In supported areas or schools the number of teenage pregnancies is reduced, the students do better in school and the spread of HIV decreases.
The vision of Star for Life is: ”A future in which young people are empowered to realize their dreams as responsible members of caring communities”. The Lööf Foundation’s future results in Folweni High School will be analyzed by comparing it with another high school in the area. We hope to reach as many students as possible in these three years!
During March 2016, Chairman and Founder of Lööf Foundation Sophie Lööf, together with her father, Mr TorBjörn Lööf, board member of Lööf Foundation and Mr Mikael Persson, CEO Partex Marking Systems, board member of the Lööf Foundation visited Folweni High School. Along with Mr Simon Hooper Partex UK and Ms Ronja Lundquist from Partex Sweden, were chosen as Partex ambassadors for this project. Participants were also Mr Martin Erasmus, branch manager of Partex Haley South Africa and Mr and Mrs Barry and Pat Haley, business owner of Partex Haley South Africa were present to visit Folweni High School. During their visit there, they celebrated the support from our foundation by having a launch party at Folweni High School. The party consisted of many great performances by the students, and also by the teachers. Speeches were held throughout the day by Star for Life coaches, to educate everyone on Star for Life’s program. The principal of Folweni High School gave a speech, to share the progress of the school, and thank the foundation for our support. As well, Sophie Lööf gave a speech to all of the students and staff. Lots of singing, dancing, and performances were done by everyone! To end the celebration off, the raising of the South African and Star for Life flag were raised, while singing the South African national anthem together.
If you would like to see the full experience of the launch party at Folweni High School be sure to click on the link below to watch!
July 2016 – Revisit to Folweni High school:
Sophie and Johan visited Folweni High school to check up on the progress of the students. They had a meeting with Star for Life staff and the headmaster of the school. They were updated that the schedule for Star for Life’s workshops was behind schedule due to the election as there had been riots causing blocked roads and closed schools. This making it difficult for the Star for Life to reach the school. The mobile health clinic had also been delayed from these issues and has not made as many visits as planned. Their plan going forward is to speed up the workshops during 2017. Sophie also received devastating news that there was a death on June 6, 2016 of a student when another student stabbed him. Star for Life has been very active within the school, providing students and teachers with workshops to allow them to talk, grieve, and receive counselling.
During October 2016, and expected 192 students graduated in their chosen fields of either commerce, engineering, humanities or science.
As Sophie and Johan circulated around the school, they watched a workshop in a grade ten class. The topic was pregnancy and teaching the students to focus on their education first. They also teach them the meaning of the letters in the word “star”.
S – Stop
T – Think
A – Act
R – Re-evaluate
Sophie and Johan had a great time visiting Folweni High school and were very impressed with all the great work and progress from the students and Star for Life. At the end of the day they were treated to a special performance from the music class where they sang different South African song such as Sophie’s favorite Shosholoza!
If you would like to see the full experience from our revisit during July 2016 be sure to click on the link below to watch!