The cheer “Teen Club Rocks!”, or “Teen Club Ya Chesa” in the local Setswana language, can be heard on the last Saturday of every month at the Gaborone Teen Club, a support group for HIV-positive adolescents at Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence. Teen Club is a peer support group intervention for HIV-positive adolescents currently operating in Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone, as well as a growing number of satellite sites throughout the country. The mission of Teen Club is “to empower HIV-positive adolescents to build positive relationships, improve self-esteem and acquire life skills through peer mentorship, adult role-modeling and structured activities, ultimately leading to improved clinical and mental health outcomes as well as a healthy transition into adulthood.”
In the past few years, our demand has grown from 30 to 200 Teen Club members and from one to five monthly Teen Club events. We are actively providing life skills education in addition to our recreational and social activities, and the repeat attendances from our adolescent patients speak for themselves. Our teens have demonstrated improved mental, social and physical wellbeing, giving them a strong foundation for a healthy transition into adulthood.
The generous financial support of private individuals and groups has been, and continues to be, vital to the growth and expansion of the Teen Club programme. Our 2009 fundraising drive has three primary goals, as described below:
The first goal is to hire full-time “adolescent support officers” who will take over many of the duties that have until now been performed by short-term volunteers. These officers will oversee Teen Club’s rapid growth while continuing the mission of enriching our teenager’s lives with a positive outlook and a sense of responsibility for their health. These officers will also apply for and manage various local and international grants in order to sustain Teen Club in the future.
The second goal is to help share the lessons we have learned here in Botswana with other African countries that are facing similar challenges with their adolescents. As part of the mission of the Baylor International Paediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI), representatives from nine African countries meet semi-annually to discuss their successes and challenges together. Within BIPAI, Botswana has the largest and most active Teen Club programme and we have the only adolescent support officer and only psychologist seeing adolescents and addressing their unique psychosocial needs. In order to rollout these services in other African settings, we need to send these two representatives to our next conference, in order to lay the groundwork for building the capacity of other countries.
Lastly, we want to empower caregivers who struggle to emotionally and financially care for the adolescent orphans whom they have taken into their households via a number of psychosocial groups. Transport funding is the primary barrier to the success of these programs, and the goal is to establish brief interventions that will put these people on the road to emotional and financial independence.
In this fundraising drive, our goal is to raise $20,000 U.S. Dollars. These funds will go towards hiring adolescent support staff, paying conference fees, and developing psychosocial support groups.
If you would like to donate from a US account by electronic transfer, please click on the following link: https://waystogive.texaschildrens.org/NetCommunity/bipai . Under “Additional Information” please choose “Botswana Teen Club” from the “Choose Program” drop-down menu.
For non-US international donors, please make your donation through the following Paypal page and select “Botswana Teen Club” from the drop-down menu: http://waystogive.texaschildrens.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=945 .
Alternately, tax-deductible personal checks can be made out to: “Texas Children’s Hospital” with “Paul Mullan – BIPAI/6049/Teen Club” in the memo. Please send any checks to the following address: Botswana Teen Club Donations, 3861 N. Chesterbrook Rd., Arlington VA 22207. For more information, please check out the pages on this website.
Thank you for your help and support! Together we can build a brighter future for Botswana’s HIV-positive adolescents!