Khuluma Khulisani Mentor Programme

The Issue

Adolescents living with HIV are at an increased risk of mental illness. Over 15% of young women and 5% of young men aged 15-24 are living with HIV in South Africa, but do not receive adequate psychosocial support. Our Khuluma approach addresses this issue through digital support groups, which have proven to have a positive impact on their lives.

The Approach

We have developed a mentor programme for our participants who were involved in the Khuluma initiative, to train them to provide the same support to other adolescents living with the same condition as them. We provide our peer mentors with basic training on HIV, facilitation and counselling skills and a training tool to enable them to run future support groups for adolescents. The mentor programme aims to give the mentors an opportunity to gain insights and access to careers and job opportunities. When a mentor shows interest in a field, we ensure that we help the mentor to enrich their skills and further their education in that field through courses. The mentors also meet once a month to take part in activity sessions, during which they share the challenges they have faced and receive support from their fellow peer mentors, as well as trained professionals.

Not only does the mentor programme give our mentors a sense of belonging but it also provides them with an open space to confidently communicate the issues they have faced, and continue to face, with other adolescents who are living with HIV and share similar experiences. Our mentors are able to facilitate support groups that they were once a part of and act as HIV advocates.

The Outcome

Our mentors have played a vital role in the recruitment process of participants for our other support group initiatives and have been very successful in helping to generate discussions in the groups.

Our peer mentors have been involved in many of the Foundation’s collaborative initiatives, including:

  • The designing and making of the Khuluma documentary.
  • An exhibition at the 5th Global Mental Health Summit 2018 in South Africa – where our mentors worked on a photography exhibition to give an insight into their day to day lives.
  • Life In My Shoes Animation – a digital platform of real stories from brave young people around the world living with HIV, run by the UK charity Body & Soul. So far the initiative has involved young people from India, USA, Hong Kong, South Africa, UK and Romania. Our mentors are currently involved in telling their stories on the platform which will be launched later in the year.

Main photo by Daniel Masetla


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