We help young people to formulate and realise their dreams
Star for Life was launched at a school in Hluhluwe in northeastern South Africa in 2005. Since then it has grown into an international organisation operating in four countries.
The programme aims to help young people refrain from behaviours that damage their health and, instead, adopt attitudes and behaviours that will increase the possibility of them realising their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. We do this by helping them strengthen their self-awareness, learn about health during puberty and to feel joy and inspiration through music.
All this motivates them, on a daily basis, to make wise decisions about school work, health and the relationships they have in their lives.
The Star for Life method
Star for Life’s school programme is based on a unique method that is rooted in both academic theories and science as well as proven experience. It can be briefly summarised using the following six points:
Behaviour change requires positive incentives
It is easier to stop behaviours that threaten your health and future if you have something to gain from making a change. Therefore, the programme focuses on the young people’s own positive dreams of a better life.
Your own dream in the context of society
The possibility of realising our dreams is hampered by problems in society that we must learn to relate to. Therefore, the programme discusses issues such as responsibility and rights in relation to sexuality, gender-based violence and the environment.
Change is based on both knowledge and feeling
Knowledge is an essential part of understanding why you need to change dangerous behaviours, but knowledge alone is not enough. In addition, you need to feel inspired and excited about the change. That’s why music is an important method of communication in the Star for Life programme.
Realising your dream depends on your input at school
Regardless of what dream you have, the chance of it becoming a reality is increased if you are fully focused at school and complete grade twelve. Therefore, the programme emphasises the importance of school, trains learners in study discipline and provides practical study tips.
The dream of a better life requires self-respect and rights
It is only if you feel that you have intrinsic value as a person that you have the strength to demand your rights for a better future. Therefore, the programme begins by ensuring that everyone feels that they are of value in themselves, and for others.
Your success is my success
Stronger self-esteem is only sustainable in the long run if it is combined with the ability to create trusting relationships with others. Therefore, the programme has a strong focus on the importance of empathy, solidarity and communication.
The Star for Life star – a powerful symbol
To remind students and teachers in the schools of all that Star for Life teaches and represents, we have created a symbol that is filled with strength and meaning. This symbol can be found on the Dream Book and T-shirt each learner receives, on pictures at school and also on a flag waving on the school’s flagpole. Each of the five coloured points has a specific meaning which together summarise Star for Life’s most important message. They form a jingle that the students learn together with five gestures. The smaller white star in the middle is perhaps most important of all.
The white star in the middle
Listen to your conscience. When the learners have formulated their dreams and understood that they have the power to realise them, we encourage them to listen to the inherent voice that guides them as they make important choices. Should I agree to have sex without a condom? Should I study for the test or find excuses for a bad result? Listen to your conscience; your inner voice will help you make the right choices.
Star for Life’s strategy
The effect of the Star for Life programme is not only dependent on its content but also on the way in which it is presented. Our implementation strategy is evaluated and adjusted continuously and is, to some extent, dependent on what resources are available. In general, the following points apply:
Confidence in the Star for Life coach
The programme is delivered by a full-time coach with a relevant university education. The young people learn to trust the coach and this gives security, enabling valuable conversations about personal dreams and the various situations and concerns that the students might have to deal with in their lives.
A cumulative process
The various components of the programme are presented to the learners in a logical sequence during the five years from grade eight to twelve. The full effect of the program is only achieved towards the last year of school in grade 12. The learner then leaves school with the conditions to become a ‘star for life’.
A resource for the school
Star for Life’s entire program is coordinated with and consolidates the existing curriculum, making the programme a resource that helps schools meet expectations from school authorities and achieve the desired results. Star for Life strengthens motivation and helps build capacity among teachers.
Adaptable to various age groups
Star for Life works increasingly with the lower grades. Our work at primary and middle school level uses a pedagogy adapted to younger children. You learn through stories, play and music, and you express yourself through art and theatre. More and more children have had the support of Star for Life throughout their schooling, grades one to twelve.
Respect for culture and context
Star for Life’s programme differs from the traditional culture that characterises the local communities. Even so, our work in schools is appreciated because we focus on helping students understand and deal with opposing values without causing conflicts of principle.
Star for Life offers schools a long-term collaboration for the benefit of both students and the school as well as the surrounding community. We do not leave a school where there are problems as long as there is the will to work with Star for Life to find solutions.