Contrasting Narratives

The month of June in 2010 saw the world turn its attention to the opulent stadiums in South Africa, and in the same month Peace and Love International turned its attention towards individuals and communities who were far from the excitement shown around the world. By establishing a unique empowerment initiative called Contrasting Narratives, Peace and Love International sought to raise awareness about the ordinary, day-to-day experience of countless extraordinary South African youths entrenched by poverty and left to suffer. An exhibition came to centered on a youth who had recently turned 20, his life in the tin-township of Soweto, and his passion for growth and education.

This individual, who’s name in this context is not of relevance – for his story is shared by millions of young women and men – had incredible talent. Without a single computer class, or training of any type, he had assembled a fully functioning computer with spare parts he had found and gathered in and around the slum. It was not awe-inspiring enough that he had made speakers out of headphones; he mixed deep-South African-house music on his computer, too. All of this was achieved through passion and an unwavering desire to grow. However, due to the cyclical-entrenchments of poverty, classes or education of any sort are, for all practical and realistic purposes, were inaccessible to him. Tuition can’t be afforded, student loans are not granted, funds can’t be borrowed from poor family members for transportation to university. None can can learn on an empty stomach, even if they were at the best of schools, and with the nature of poverty being what it is, daily meals are far from guaranteed.

Due to such realities, youth are provided with few opportunities for growth and personal development; however, this is type of entrenched poverty which Peace and Love International seeks to address at its root. Through photographic exhibitions of the circumstances described above, and the support of one of our supporters in Cape Town, awareness and funds were raised to establish a unique, holistic vocational scholarship which provides the ways and means to overcome everyday barriers. The scholarship assisted with the complete cost of educational needs, transportation access, and complete nutrition needed to make learning possible.