The Education for Life Programme is a Conversion process that leads participants through introspection, reflection and self-examination to face the reality of their present situation, to identify, name and own values, attitudes and behaviours that are not compatible with living Gospel values.With Jesus as the key focus, participants are led by prayer, personal reflection, dramas, songs personal testimonies and videos, to see that unless they do change undesirable behaviour, life in the future will lose all dignity and become cheap, promiscuous and valueless.
The challenge is to accept the invitation to allow Jesus to truly become our “Life Giving Water”(John 4:7-16). With renewed confidence participants come to see that God and God alone can give us the love and life for which we yearn. The programme is an opportunity to grow into freedom of choice and intimacy, a process of becoming more fully human. Education for Lifeis a live in experience that lasts for the duration of five days.
Participants usually respond through invitations sent to local churches, schools or they are recommended by others in the community.The programme was introduced in South Africa in the late 1990’s where a number of youth and various leaders underwent the process. They began working in their local areas and the affects of the new hope and growth that they experienced began to spread further afield. In August 2002 the programme was presented tot he Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference as a possible preventative programme for the youth in face of the serious pandemic of HIV/AIDS that was killing the nation. The bishops saw the need for such a programme among the youth and in January 2003 they approved it as a National Youth Programme that was placed under the National Youth Desk within the SACBC Region, namely, South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland.
A three year plan to implement “Education for Life” was set in place engaging many committed youth animators, religious sisters, brothers and priests. Jesus has come that we may have life and have it to the fullest hence we have no time to waste. The programme was reindorsed at the August Bishop’s Plenary 2003 and the good work continues.Education For Life falls under Youth Ministry. The aim of our office is to offer our youth a behavioural change process that attempts to mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS by addressing aspects of social injustice against human dignity, elements that rob people of their inherent freedom and integrity.
It assists participants to recognize their own humanity and the humanity of others. It seeks to empower people engaging them in a conversion process through introspection, reflection and self-examination to face the reality of their present situation, to identify, name and own values, attitudes and behavior that are not compatible with sound cultural, moral, social and Christian values. This process goes beyond the frontier of “sex education” and “HIV/AIDS prevention methods”.