On June 16th, South Africa is commemorating Youth Day. As a youth-focused organisation, AFS Interculture South Africa encourages young people to take charge of their lives and use the opportunities available to them. We create opportunities for young people to learn, gain vital skills, and to have the confidence necessary to become productive and successful adults. Through cultural exchanges, we aim to enhance young people’s awareness, belief in self-efficacy and to be globally competent.

In the words of President Nelson Mandela “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.”

Part of being an AFSer is being a leader in one’s own community. Over the past year we have shared stories of individual AFSers who have been doing something to support their communities; whether that be through organizing soup kitchens, cleaning up the environment, or helping at a local children’s home. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone around the world and young people have had to make many adjustments, whether that be attending classes online, restricting their contacts at school to just their class, or having their sports and other activities cancelled. While it has been, and continues to be, very difficult, young people have also been inspirational and have taken Madiba’s words to heart.

While it may not be possible to take part in a group activity to celebrate Youth Day, we would encourage everyone to do something, however small, to support someone or something in your community. Small actions can add up to large impacts and, while we are distancing, bring us together as one AFS family.