Before you came to the ImprovED program, what did you know about health and HIV prevention?
Zodwa – (My parents and teachers) taught us but it wasn’t enough knowledge for me as a 15-year-old, as a teenager. So, they really taught me a lot in the (ImprovED) program. Now, I know about HIV/AIDS, how it is transmitted, how to treat it, about peer pressure and how to stand up for yourself. And about other things around us, and how to overcome my challenges. We are taught everything. Everything that a teenager needs to know.
Nomalungelo - I did know some things (about prevention) but it was not enough for me as a teenager because now they have taught us everything about it. It will teach me more and guide me through my situation because I’ve learned now how to overcome my situation.
How do you think what you have learned will help you in the future? What would you like to do when you’re done with school?
Zodwa - It will help me be a very positive and committed adult. I want to be a psychologist to help (people in my community) overcome their own challenges.
Nomalungelo - I would like to become a veterinarian to help living things around my area. My family has a female dog with three other puppies.
What is a normal day like in the program? What’s your favorite thing about it?
Zodwa – (Instructors) give us a topic (related to health) to deal with that day, like teach us a song, or ask us to act our own drama. They come during classes (at school) and sometimes the teachers give them some time to use and teach us things.
Nomalungelo - My favorite thing about performing is really the singing. We make up our own songs and our own dramas.
What is your life like at home?
Zodwa - I live with both my parents and my brothers and sisters. I was born (in Nkomazi), so I have lived in the same place ever since. My parents farm, and my father has cows. I learned English in school and at home with my family.
Nomalungelo - I only live with my three siblings and my mother. My mother works in the governmental area, she’s a teacher.
What would you like to tell American kids about life in South Africa?
Zodwa - South Africa is a very wonderful country. We love nature, we love energy. Everyone is very connected, we have the South African spirit. So, being a South African is a privilege, it’s a great opportunity. We work together to overcome our challenges. South Africans are people who have courage from the people around us.
The ImprovED program has helped us a lot. Ever since they came to our school, people are positive, they have the courage to go for testing, so they really help us a lot. I have been tested twice.
Nomalungelo - Life is very great in South Africa, especially when they have people like the TRIAD and ImprovED program who will guide us through the information we already have from our parents and teachers. It is very good to be taken care of. I would like to tell (American kids) that they have to be positive and they must never give up on reaching to their dreams. And to always listen to their parents too.