How YES helped me . . .

Thabang, 17 years old, shares how YES! Course changed his life. He was a student at Forte High School in Dobsonville, Soweto, Johannesburg and part of the Youth Village program.

In December 2011 Thabang took part in the national road safety competition. He and his class mates were placed 2nd from all the provinces in South Africa. This placement won R 20 000 for the school and as a result the school will be covering Thabang's school fees for his final year.

I used to be an unhappy boy who listened to negative comments that people said to me. I started to measure myself in things that I desire and this affected my self-esteem and self-confidence because I allowed my inner-self to pour negative thoughts about myself and I could not think of anything better. Due to low self-esteem and discouragement I was suicidal.

I started to attend YES! Course without understanding what it is all about and I became thirsty to learn and understand. That’s where I was introduced to a new world of possibilities and I was taught tips and techniques of how to be myself and how to stand in difficult circumstances.

It wasn’t an easy task to work on rebuilding my self-esteem but the YES! Course tips and techniques made it a success. I found interesting and fun ways to get rid of negativity and replace it with positivity.

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Feeding Scheme

The Feeding Scheme provides scholars from child headed, indigent families with meals during the school terms.

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After attending the YES! Course around June 2010, my mother got sick and found out that she was HIV positive. It wasn’t easy for her to accept her status and that really gave me a breakdown, where the pressure of alcohol and drugs availed itself, but I never let that control me. I had to make the hardest decision of my life whether I continue with school or stay home taking care of her.

As weeks went by, we decided to move from Johannesburg to Limpopo, as there was nothing left for us in Gauteng and I still continued looking after her. The whole situation made me strong and courageous not to give up even if I am facing a mountain.

On the 18 November 2010 it was a normal check-up date for her in Leratong hospital, that day the doctors decided to admit her. A few days later she improved and remained in hospital up until the 1, December 2010, where she got worse and she could not speak, move and eat. That’s when doctors plugged machines to support her.

But that did not help because on the 3rd December 2010 the hospital staff wanted to take her on the step downward, where medication is no longer an option but for the body to heal it’s self, naturally. Unfortunately it was too late because that Friday night she passed away, I felt like she took away all happiness I had.

Her death affected me badly, it was hard to accept but I did not let that to disturb me.

Through initial motivation and techniques from YES! Course my self-esteem was uplifted even though it was not easy to cross over to a new self. Meditation was the main key tool to redirect my troubled mind and in a process of getting rid of negative thoughts I had about myself and replace with positive thoughts.

That’s when I started to be adventurous to go out and learn from other young people.

As I continued with the YES! Course I became interested to love helping others who are less fortunate and to make a positive change in my community, I had a passion to help.

Now I am a volunteer in Mmaishiba Disabled Care Centre and a road safety ambassador. I am on a mission to motivate other young people who are from same background as mine and help them make choices which will lead them to a positive path.