Basic Education Deputy Minister Dr Regina Mhaule has expressed her gratitude to the Adolescent and Youth Global Fund (AYP) program for donating school uniforms, stationery, hygiene packs and water bottles to flood-affected schools in KwaZulu-Natal. .

On Monday, the Deputy Minister, along with Deputy Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bagapane-Zulu and Executive Committee Chairs Mbali Fraser and Nonhlanhla Khoza, led the Global Fund donation to flood-affected schools in Amaoti.

Delivering the keynote address, Maule said the Global Fund’s AYP program in South Africa offers a comprehensive package of social, structural and biomedical services for adolescent girls.

She said the package aims to improve the health, psychosocial and socio-economic well-being of adolescents and young people.

“We warmly welcome this act of solidarity amid the devastation caused by the KwaZulu-Natal floods. Today’s event really confirms the importance of global solidarity.

“We see the extended helping hand to our people as a sign that we are not alone in this difficult hour. We appreciate this gesture and wish success to all the organizations involved,” said Mhaule.

The goal of the Adolescents and Youth program is to reduce the incidence of HIV infection, reduce teenage pregnancy, increase school dropout rates, increase economic opportunity and reduce gender-based violence (GBV).

“I am listing the main objective of the Global Fund to emphasize that they are a natural partner for basic education. As a government, we are faced with the problem of the rampant growth of HIV among young girls.

“According to statistics, HIV prevalence among women aged 15 to 19 is now 5.8 percent and peaks at 15.6 percent among women aged 20 to 24,” she said.

The deputy minister noted that cases of teenage pregnancy are growing rapidly.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, girls aged 10 to 19 recorded 90,000 pregnancies.

“As we sit here, we know that most of our youth are unemployed and unskilled. According to Stats SA, youth unemployment in South Africa is at a record 66.5%,” Mhaule stressed.

She added that the number of young people (37%) aged 15 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) is more depressing.