Youth from underprivileged areas are often exposed to traumatic incidences such as crime and physical and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, these types of environments often affect a child’s emotional wellbeing and social interaction with their peers and fellow community members. The National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT) are currently exploring the positive health effects of music engagement and visual arts therapy for at-risk youth from underprivileged areas through their Youth Choir and ‘Healing Through Art’ initiative. These initiatives are also meant to uplift spirits of unemployed youth and to channel their emotions positively.

 

The National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT) commemorated and concluded Youth Month this year by focussing on recruiting more children for its youth based programmes. “The NCVT ‘Healing Through Art’ initiative has been running since February 2015 and the Youth Choir since December 2015; involving more than 12 unemployed youth from around Diepsloot, Lanseria, Zandspruit, Itsoseng and Cosmo City,” says NCVT Senior Social Worker, Nokwazi Dlamini. “We invested in the two youth programmes to empower, educate and entertain our children and believe that they will learn valuable life lessons by participating,” she adds.

 

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. It is a well-established form of therapy in other areas such as the United Kingdom, however, is a relatively new practice in South Africa. Art-making is largely able to transcend language and cultural barriers, so it is particularly appropriate in the South African context.* Music on the other hand, may also be used as a medium to treat depression and bring a sense of joy. Evidence has shown that music therapy can address people’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs as they either create, sing, move to, and/or listen to music.**

 

“Many young people succumb to social injustices by resorting to a life of crime and substance abuse as a solution for better living conditions. Unfortunately this always ends badly – either in prison or worse, a life lost,” says Dlamini. “Joining the choir helps us stay motivated and focused on our dreams and goals,” says Tshepo Pelembe, member of NCVT choir. “Since joining the choir, I have made new friends and feel more confident in my abilities and talents,” he adds.

 

Participants in both programmes have either improved academically at school or are able to engage more with their peers and have become more socially involved within their communities. “Involving more youth in our programmes means raising an inspired generation that will bring positive change to combat any social stigmas concerning youth from impoverished areas. We commend our children’s parents for being so supportive of the youth that form part of our programmes,” concludes Dlamini.

 

NCVT encourages young people to actively participate in community outreach programmes and other empowering extra mural activities. The Youth Choir can be found performing at NCVT events and other local events in the surrounding areas in which NCVT operates.

 

To join the NCVT Youth Choir, participate in the ‘Healing Through Art’ initiative or make donations to NCVT or volunteer, members of the community can contactncvtprojects@iafrica.com | +27 11 705-1960 | +27 11 467 4936. For more about NCVT, please visit www.ncvt.co.za.

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