German initiative helps South African Youth to overcome prejudices
South Africa remains one of the most diverse societies in the world. A young German psychologist engages with kids and teenagers from different backgrounds to break prejudice and social isolation. The interactively organized youth camps make open and harmonic interaction possible for the children and give them a chance for their personal development.
Enlarge image Bridges Camp & Bridging Gaps e.V. is a place to meet, play, and work on social and personal skills (© German Embassy Pretoria) On November 14, the kids and teenagers of the Bridges Camp gathered in the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Pretoria in Mamelodi-East. The group of children presented their experiences to their families and impressively showed what they have learned during the camps over the past five years. The official part of the ceremony was the handing over of graduation certificates to the 18 facilitators who have been chosen to be mentors for the new kids of a camp which takes place near Cullinan.
The initiative was founded by Juliane Hoss who came to South Africa as a volunteer after graduating from High School. Having spent a year in the Western Cape working with children she launched a project to help the South African youth to mingle and overcome racial prejudice within society by being able to spread their reflected opinion on society.
Most of the children are from the townships Mamelodi and Eersterust, with Bridges Camp & Bridging Gaps e.V. they found a place where they can meet, play together, and work on their social and personal skills.
Enlarge image Sucessfully breaking prejudices (© German Embassy Pretoria) Over the years it has developed into an integral project which is being managed in cooperation with the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Pretoria.
Juliane is very happy with the development of the kids and their participation, though it is sometimes hard to find participants from all South African cultural backgrounds, she says. “We finance our projects with small donations and crowdfunding events, so a corporate sponsor would help us a lot in order to extend our activities and workshops on further topics such as sport or vocational training,” she pointed out.
During the last camp 37 kids and eight tutors participated in the event. “We have more than 120 Alumi, of which most are still active. Every year participation increases, in 2016 we will already have 24 facilitators.”