Tongaat Hulett teams up for Butterfly Project
Tongaat Hulett is a proud contributor to the Butterfly Project, a major arts and health education initiative facilitated by the Denis Hurley Centre in partnership with the US Consulate and various private sector organisations and NGOs dealing with issues of HIV and AIDS.
Recently, Tongaat Hulett mobilised 60 youth to participate in the project with the assistance of PROTEC and Khethimpilo, both of which are local NGO’s that work with vulnerable but high potential youth from socio-economically challenged communities, explained Nkonzo Mhlongo, Tongaat Hulett Socio-economic Development Manager.
“We invited youth from PROTEC and Khethimpilo, which are organisations we have good working relationships with and each organisation recommended 30 young people to participate in the project,” she said. “We partner with Khethimpilo especially on the “HIV and Me” programme which is an HIV/ AIDS awareness programme targeting learners, hence a project of this nature is not new to these youths.”
The project took place over two days, during which the youths were involved in HIV/AIDS education talks, Q&A sessions and educational plays. The youth learnt about the UN AIDS 90-90-90 initiative. By 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
“The youths who were involved in the drama workshop were divided into groups and were required to compete against each other in performing educational HIV/AIDS plays. Actors in the winning play got to perform for everyone at the Centre,” said Mhlongo. “The butterfly sculpture, made of small plastic butterflies tied to a mesh, a symbol of the Butterfly Project, was mounted on the wall of the Denis Hurley Centre.”
Attendees of the 21st AIDS conference which recently took place in Durban toured to the Centre to see the sculpture.
Nana Ngcobo, a social worker at Khethimpilo and one of the project managers overseeing this initiative, said it was a brilliant concept that she and the youth were happy to be a part of. “The project unveiled some hidden talents in the youth and they got to relax and enjoy the activities with their peers. We are grateful to Tongaat Hulett for involving Khethimpilo in this project,” she added.