The provision of recreation services for youth at risk with special reference to AIDS orphans
Schreck, Cornelia Margarete
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HIV/AIDS is a growing pandemic -not only in South Africa, but also globally. Worldwide there are currently more than 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2006:8). The increasing number of HIV-infections also leads to an increase in the number of deaths related to HIV/AIDS. A result of the mortality rate is the increasing number of children who are orphaned. It is projected by Dorrington et al. (2006:25) that, in South Africa, nearly 2.2 million children will be orphaned as a result of AIDS by 2015. The death of a parent, especially due to AIDS, is a very traumatic and stressful event. Exposure to such an event is a main factor leading to risk behaviour (Anon, 2002:2). AIDS is endangering the future of youth in South Africa. Recreation programmes can playa changing role in managing the effects the AIDS pandemic has on AIDS orphans (Brown & Lourie, 2000:86). Recreation programmes can help improve the health of these youths and assist in solving the emotional, social and psychological problems they face. Numerous research findings supported this notion that recreation participation can be beneficial on a personal, social, environmental and economic level (Tesnear, 2004:78; Bloemhoff, 2006:1-11; Meyer, 2007:97; Louw, 2008: 138). The purpose of this study was firstly, to determine the necessity for recreation programmes for AIDS orphans based on the perspectives of the staff working with these youths and those of the youths themselves. Secondly, to determine the benefits associated with recreation participation for AIDS orphans according to the perspectives of the staff working with these youths and the youths themselves. A qualitative research design was used for the collection of the data in this study. Thanda After-School Programme was use as a case study. The participants were recruited purposively to form a non-probability sample. The sample size (n=17) was determined through data saturation. The sample was divided into two groups, staff at Thanda ASP (n=9) and students at Thanda ASP (n=8). Data gathering was done by means of a semi-structure interview with each of the participants as well as analysis of personal documents written by the participants. Data analysis was done by means of the following steps: planning for recording data; data collection and preliminary analysis; organising the data; reading and writing memos; generating categories, themes and patterns; coding the data; testing; and representing. Through the process of data analysis two main categories were identified, namely the necessity for recreation programmes for AIDS orphans and the benefits of recreation programmes for AIDS orphans. The necessity was accentuated by both the staff and the students of Thanda ASP. Both highlighted this through their responses to the question as to why they are involved in Thanda ASP as well as the reason for the students' risk behaviour before their involvement in the programme. Health, emotional, social and psychological improvement were the key themes that emerged with regard to the benefits to ADIS orphans as a result of recreation participation. These benefits were stated by the majority of staff members as well as students at Thanda ASP and it was also echoed in the journals written by the students. The participants, staff and students alike, strongly emphasised the improvement of the youths' future perspectives and improvement of life skills. The results from this study compare positively with what is stated in the literature and with previous research. Based on these results, recreation programmes for AIDS orphans can be regarded as beneficial to and thus essential for the improvement of quality of life.
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