Maseru Teen Club
In 2008, Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative Lesotho (BIPAI-L) formed Lesotho’s first Teen Club based at the Maseru COE. Teen Club started in May 2008 with 40 members and has now expanded to almost 500 members in Maseru alone. Over the years, Teen Club has expanded to other regions with Baylor clinics (SCOEs) and is now running a total of six Teen Clubs throughout Lesotho. Through peer-education and mentorship, counseling, and the development of life skills and leadership abilities, we aim to empower Lesotho’s HIV infected youth. We also teach our adolescent important lessons that help them to cope with HIV. More details about our lessons can be found below in the Curriculum section.
The Teen Club meetings are monthly: a Younger Teen Club for ages 11 to 14 and an Older Teen Club for ages 14 to 18. The two age groups meet on different Saturdays of the month to allow each child to have greater involvement in the day’s activities. The calendar to the left shows the dates of the Teen Club meetings each month. This is a typical Teen Club schedule:
8:00 AM: Registration and Morning Snack
9:00 AM: Teen Leader Meeting
9:30 AM: Group Aerobics
10:00 AM: Lesson of the Day in smaller Color Groups
1:00 PM: Lunch and distribution of transport money/ARV refills
2:30 PM: Closing Circle
The teens are a very enthusiastic group that is eager to learn and is committed to being in control of their condition. Although they are HIV+, we remember first and foremost that they are teens before they are patients. Like any other teen, these adolescents are struggling to find their own identity and define who they are. In addition to our lessons, we engage in other activities such as Sports Day, Career Day, and field trips to Radio TV Lesotho and Kick4Life.
SCOEs Teen Club
In addition to the first Teen Club based at the Maseru COE, we have now expanded to five additional Teen Clubs at the SCOEs in Qacha’s Nek, Leribe, Mokhotlong, Butha-Buthe and Mohale’s Hoek. The SCOE Teen Clubs also meet once a month (meeting times are specified on the calendar to the left). The SCOE Teen Clubs follow a very similar schedule and curriculum to the Maseru Teen Club.
Teen Club Curriculum
To see what our teens are learning, click here to see our curriculum. Lessons range from learning about HIV medications to general health to dealing with peer pressure. Additional lessons are provided through partnerships with local organizations such as first aid training with Lesotho Red Cross Society. To see a list of our generous sponsors and partners, click here or go to the Partners tab at the top of the page.
With the high quality healthcare provided by our healthcare professionals at Baylor Clinic, our teens are now living longer and are facing obstacles of entering adulthood, such as graduating from school and getting a job. In 2013, we formed a Wise Youth group to include these young adults from ages 18 to 24. This group is mainly a support group aimed to have the members support each other as they venture out into new possibilities. We help them to transition into healthy, productive adults who can make impactful contributions to their communities. Wise Youth members meet once a month to discuss topics such as careers, family planning and HIV management. As the forefront of the longer living HIV+ generation, they also serve as role models for the members of Teen Club. Wise Youth members volunteer as staff during Teen Club meetings and provide advice and mentorship for the teens. A few of our Wise Youth members have also been recruited by Baylor to become Peer Educators who provide counseling and support to patients at the Adolescent Clinic. Currently, Wise Youth is running only in Maseru and Leribe.