Wouter Van Dongen|23.06.2014|Feature Real stories
This ground-breaking project is using Taekwondo to teach young drug users about HIV

Kilifi is the second poorest region in Kenya. There is a lack of jobs and young people struggle to realise their full potential. Many get frustrated and turn to drugs, eventually ending up living on the streets and relying on begging and criminal activities to help provide their drug supply. A large number of drug users are at risk of HIV infection, often because of sharing infected needles and syringes. Neglected by society and authorities, this vulnerable population is isolated and many die at a young age.

In 2007, at just 19 years of age, Ramadhani Ndiga, founded the organisation Where Talent Lives in a bid to do something about this situation.

A passionate taekwondo expert, Ramadhani realised how sports can serve as a means to bring young people together and to help them pass on information to each other. With this in mind, his idea was to use taekwondo sessions for young injecting drug users as well as school students to bring them together, make them share experiences, and inform them about ways to prevent getting HIV.

Where Talent Lives received its first MTV Staying Alive Foundation grant in 2012. As part of their project “Keep Fit, Keep Safe” they organise taekwondo trainings and conduct school outreaches to inform students about drug abuse, sex, and HIV.

The organisation also trains former drug users to become peer educators so that they can educate their friends about the dangers of injecting drugs and teach them how to protect themselves against HIV. Where Talent Lives helps to rehabilitate drug users who are also living with HIV, helps them get access to antiretroviral drugs, and sets up income-generating activities for these individuals so that they can make a living and start a new life without drugs.

Click here to see how “Where Talent Lives” saved one young man from the brink. 

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