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Keep The Dream196 is a non profit organization (NPO) based in Greater Tzaneen Municipality (GTM), Limpopo Province in South Africa. Well that’s where we are, who we are and what we do is another story. I want to take you on a journey of discovery, I think we start with why KTD196 is necessary!

KTD196 started unofficially in 2003 after a focus group with 180 Home Based Care volunteers who were very stressed about the problems facing the orphaned and vulnerable children of their villages. The problems that faced the children included: increased teenage pregnancy (13% in Limpopo) and also increased HIV/AIDS infections rates (23% in Limpopo) amongst 15-24yr age group; children dropping out of school; failing at school; not having the parental support necessary; teenagers getting involved with gangs and crime; substance abuse and suicide (10% of all natural deaths are deemed suicide but is greatly under reported).

So, after much research and questioning the children we started the bones of our program in November 2003 with 13 girls. In 2004 we trained 50 new volunteers and by the end of the year we had over 1,100 children in the program

The impact we have been able to generate includes:
1. Teenage Pregnancy reduced from 13% to 0.07% in our program. Only 12 girls in 16yrs with over 9,000 girls going through our program have become pregnant. We have saved the government R177Million in 16yrs in not having to pay Child Support Grants only.

2. Our children and youth tell us they are abstaining, this is being verified by the dramatic reduction in teenage pregnancy, however we do not ask the children to take HIV tests. The bottom line we have had in excess of 13,000 children through our program that have not been involved in high risk behaviours and I believe we are contributing to the decrease in HIV infection rates.

3. To participate in our program we have actually had kids drop back into school to be a part of our program. Please read Hlulani Homu’s testimony as an example

4. We have a 90% matriculation pass rate, Limpopo Depart of Education average  is 62%. Our kids go primarily go to government schools however they have learnt to study, to persevere, to ask questions, to interrogate if they don’t understand.

5. We also work with parents of the children training them in parenting skills and providing the much needed support and guidance required by young adults as they face an uncertain world.

6. None of our children are involved in Gangs, instead we have created our own positive gangs called patrols. The children have a sense of belonging, identity, support and encouragement in these small groups. They plan their own activities and create opportunities for community service and learning

7. Our children are constantly exposed to various drugs ie alcohol and drugs, however to this point there have been no reports of Substance Abuse. We have had one child involved with the police regarding a serious crime in over 13,000 children in 16yrs where 70% of all youth are victims and/or perpetrators of crime in South Africa you would agree this is amazing impact.

8. We have had no deaths through Suicide since starting our program in fact 34% of black youth believe suicide is a viable option and 29.1% have attempted suicide that required seeing a doctor. We have had one child in the program attempt in 16yrs with over 13,000 children going through the program, a very half-hearted attempt to get her parents attention. Thankfully, with our intervention and support, this hasn’t been repeated and mother and child are doing very well.

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