(Cape Town) – Charlize Theron and Trevor Noah admire photographs taken by Cape Town youth supported by Salesian Life Choices at the NPO’s office in Landsdowne.
Charlize has been a funder of Salesian Life Choices for a number of years through her Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) and she was full of praise for the work that Life Choices do with youth from the Cape Flats.
The visit started in the newly renovated office in Landsdowne where they were introduced to the team and some students attending a coding course. The group then moved on to Oaklands High School for a highly entertaining “Straight Talks” session with Grade 9 learners as well as a visit to a mobile clinic in Langa that provides youth friendly HIV counselling and testing as part of the Health4Life programme.
The visitors were introduced to the different initiatives of the youth organisation that reach more than 9 000 young people every year with a holistic approach to promote healthy living; to assist parents and families; to encourage excellence through leadership and to empower young entrepreneurs to create jobs. Salesian Life Choices director Sofia Neves explained her organisation’s belief in choices, not charity. “We believe that once off interventions are not enough to transform a young person’s life. We partner with vulnerable youth in the Cape Flats on a journey of growth and development, delivering lasting change in the lives we touch.”
During a question and answer session a group of Leaders’ Quest participants were given the opportunity to get to know Charlize, Trevor and their guests – and they weren’t disappointed. Charlize gave learners career advice before she turned to more serious topics.
South Africans are a resilient people, she said. “That is an advantage we should use. I’m proud of that. As soon as I moved to America, I realised an advantage I had. I have a thick skin and I can bounce back.” She learnt that not having equal opportunities don’t have to limit your success. “The dream of what you want to achieve is within you and you have to go after it. Dream it, wake up and go after it. And be grateful for the people that help you along the way.”
Charlize said she felt proud to be able to invest in South African youth. “My love for the people of this country is immense. I don’t see any reason why the people of South Africa should be suffering unnecessarily in the way that they are, especially when it comes to the AIDS epidemic.” People shouldn’t be dying of a disease that is preventable, Charlize insisted. “I’ll do whatever I can to help, especially with teenagers like you, because you’re the ones that are going to change this country. Not just stopping this epidemic – because I do believe AIDS can be ended – but you’re the new leaders of this country, you’re the ones that are going to change everything on every level. I’m honoured to be part of that.”
Charlize acknowledged the struggles of young people growing up surrounded by poverty and violence. “Your lives aren’t easy. Our circumstances may differ, but as South Africans, we know where the struggle is. My own struggle made me aware of the struggles we all face. Own your own truth. I used that in a way to drive myself, to push myself. That was my engine.”
For the full article: SA Good News.