Meet champions for children: Noxolo Myeketsi

February 12, 2015

With the help of social cash transfers 19 years old Noxolo Myeketsi from South Africa is currently studying for Bachelor of Commerce in Statistics. She explains the importance of social cash transfers for youth by sharing her life story. Noxolo is member of the Teen Advisory Group of the Young Carers research project, which is investigating the experiences of children and young people living in HIV/AIDS affected communities in South Africa. Meet Noxolo!

How have social cash transfers helped you in your life?

When I was very young, I was not different in any way from other children: I had a uniform, a lunch-box and stationery. But at high school my expenses increased. I had to pay for school fees and additionally transport. Thankfully, I did not drop out of school like many others do. The social cash transfers enabled me to pay for those expenses so I could continue my education. My grandmother was also supporting me in any way she could. Now I am at university. 

I believe that if it was not for the help of the social cash transfers, I would not have been able to make healthy decisions in my life. Maybe I would have ended up being a sugar daddy’s girl like other girls from my area or shoplifter just to satisfy my needs, but I did not.

What do you think are the best ways to protect children and youth socially and financially, apart from social cash transfers?

Other than social cash transfers, youth can be protected by implementing programs that would help them to develop and improve their skills. This will enable them to realise their full potential and talents –whether studying or working.

What is the importance of the Teen Advisory Group?

I am really proud that the Teen Advisory Group team has taught us to take care of ourselves. For example, I am glad that at the age of nineteen I do not have a child. Secondly, they have helped me to work towards achieving my future goals and dreams by helping me to get a bursary to pay for my university fees.

What have you achieved thanks to the Teen Advisory Group?

I am really proud that the Teen Advisory Group team has taught us to take care of ourselves. For example, I am glad that at the age of nineteen I do not have a child. Secondly, they have helped me to work towards achieving my future goals and dreams by helping me to get a bursary to pay for my university fees.

You participated in the UNAIDS planning coordination board. What message did you bring on to this board on behalf of Teen Advisory Group?

Participating in the UNAIDS planning board was really a great opportunity for me. It was really good to get the opportunity to share my life story and also to talk about the help of social cash transfers throughout my life. I specifically went there to give a speech about how the social transfers have helped me get to university. 

What is your dream for the future when it comes to involvement of children and youth in the AIDS response?

To get the voices of children heard and also for the society to consider them important. What do I mean with this? It is for the society’s response to listen to the voices of children positively so that more effective and careful decisions are made.

This interview appeared in the Children and AIDS e-news of February 2015. Read this 7th edition or sign up for upcoming editions.