Proudly ‘Litsha youth represent

2016-06-23 06:00
 Velisa Jara

Velisa Jara

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Three Khayelitsha reporters will be amongst those attending the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) taking place in July in Durban.

Th trio are members of the Children’s Radio Foundation in South Africa and will rub shoulders with their counterparts from Zambia, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and the DRC.

These young people have important stories to tell, and their lives are often far more complex and multi-layered than we realise.

Stigma, LGBTI, treatment and services are just some of the topics about which these young reporters will be challenging delegates and experts from around the world.

Some of the young reporters are living with HIV, whilst others are directly affected by HIV in various ways.

Their experiences should be directly informing policy making.

Velisa Jara, 30, lives in Site B, Khayelitsha. She is a lead youth facilitator for the Future Positive project.

Velisa joined the FP project in March 2014 and is an activist for Black lesbian rights in South Africa.

Her past experience includes working with Free Gender – a Black lesbian support group based in Khayelitsha–since 2008 where she did communications and advocacy work for a number of local cases of hate crimes and ‘corrective rape’ of young women from her community.

She is passionate about photography and addressing the South African justice system’s failure to protect the rights of vulnerable groups in South Africa, especially black lesbian women.

In 2016 Velisa joined the CRF Cape Town team and now she is lead facilitator for a group of youth reporters based in Khayelitsha and Cape Town called, Leaders in Diversity.

Velisa’s understanding and passion for photography has facilitated her group of young reporters’ learning a new form of storytelling, including audio slideshows.

As a facilitator, her gentle and patient approach, with a firm voice when necessary, are qualities that make her a competent team leader.

Yolanda Pityoi,25, also lives in Khayelitsha. She is the outreach youth facilitator for the Future Positive project.

When she joined the project as a young reporter in 2014, Yolanda produced and hosted youth dialogue events at Nolungile Youth Clinic in Site C, Khayelitsha where she and her team transform the clinic space and fill it with music, dance, poetry and peer to peer dialogue and debate.

It was quickly realised that Yolanda has a talent for hosting and that is the role she took on with confidence.

This talent has also allowed her to participate in special projects outside of her role at CRF.

Now part of the CRF Cape Town team, she co-facilitates production meetings with youth reporters once a week to prepare for their monthly events as well as bi-monthly live broadcasts at partner CSO, Radio Zibonele.

She is also a lead facilitator and strategic planner in the scale up of Future Positive’s expansion program, training youth from Khayelitsha based high schools in the techniques of radio.

The third of the trio is Thandikhaya Qinisile,24, who also resides in Khayelitsha.

He is technical facilitator for the Future Positive Project.

Thandikhaya has been with Future Positive since 2013 where he first attended weekly sessions at Nolungile Youth Clinic with a group of youth reporters called “Youth Hustle”.

Here he learnt how to produce, host and technically coordinate a live radio booth, and also learned to host shows at Radio Zibonele, a community radio station based in Khayelitsha.

Thandikhaya is the recipient of The Children’s Radio Foundation’s “Best Project Support” award in 2015.

In 2016 he joined the CRF team as technical youth facilitator for the Future Positive Project.

Thandikhaya manages all aspects of the program that relate to audio and the technology used to record and edit audio.

He is a talented sound editor and co facilitates weekly sessions with a group of young reporters.

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