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Many young South Africans face tough social problems as a result of marginalisation. Increasingly HIV affects children and young people in terms of new infections and related psychosocial effects of bereavement, poverty and sibling care. ‘AIDS fatigue’ leads many young people to ignore traditional schools-based HIV education.

Disinterest, lack of life skills and low self-esteem mean many young people lack skills and knowledge they need to protect themselves from HIV infection. Coupled with misinformation, this results in high levels of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Outside school hours many young people spend time on the street and are drawn easily into crime, drug and alcohol misuse and early sexual activity. Gender inequalities mean girls and young women are especially vulnerable to HIV transmission

Our programme aims to reduce the impact of HIV on vulnerable children through a structured programme of expressional art, participatory learning and narrative therapy

What we do early learning2


A simple ‘My healthy body’ curriculum for six to ten year olds

What we do community action


A core segment of MADaboutART’s programme aims to mobilise community action, and so improve environmental health and hygeine, stimulate community repair and regeneration and raise social awareness of key issues.

What we do community friendship tours3


An innovative tourism experience focused around the community of Nekkies and the MADaboutART children’. Visitors meet local homeowners and learn about local cultures. All profits are reinvested in support of MADaboutART and bringing resources and skills development to benefit the community directly.

What we do grow to live2


Our community vegetable growing project aims to encourage healthy eating and so minimise the effects of HIV and AIDS through improved nutrition and entrepreneurship. Children learn how to prepare, plant and maintain food gardens as well as how to prepare simple meals from food they grow.

What we do turning the tide2


AThis community action project aims to improve health and hygiene by tackling key environmental issues of poor nutrition and sanitation. Actions of individuals can be destructive to community environments and resident’s health eg trees cut for firewood/building material, water polluted by human sewage and animal carcasses, rubbish dumped, fires set in the bush. This project leads by example to educate young and old. Recycling is promoted as means of reducing pollution and destruction and building social conscience, developing creative skills and providing opportunity for income generation. The project creates a sense of belonging within the community and a sense of achievement in bringing about positive change .

What we do hero booking1 2


Each child creates a book designed to help set goals and give power over a specific challenge or obstacle in his or her life. See MADaboutART’s Youth Ambassadors and Young Youth Ambassadors describe their experience of hero booking here Many children face psychological and social obstacles that can sometimes get the better of them and may stand in the way of their goals. Making a Hero Book in a safe space, amongst people they know and trust, helps children think about these obstacles and find ways to deal with them. During the process of making Hero Books, children are invited to share some of their inner world and life story through a series of drawing and autobiographical storytelling exercises. The group and facilitator enter strongly into each child’s story as friendly and supportive co-authors and editors – but the process goes further than storytelling, to strengthen the wellbeing and the circles of support around the child and aims to develop heroes, survivors, active citizens and solution-finders. The making of Hero Books is both a process and a product. At the end of the process, each child has a hand-bound, illustrated storybook of their own making which is a kind of solution-focused mission statement, but one that also documents and reinforces his or her positive solution-building skills.