In Zimbabwe in 2002, an 8-year-old boy whose whole family had died or were dying of HIV/AIDS was meeting friends at a tiny “choose life” club which had been started as an outreach to the young people of the area. Sitting under a tree to escape the heat of the afternoon sun, the young boy was asked what he wanted most in his life: “I want to live to grow old!” he said.
His words could stand as the heart-cry of a generation in a continent where more than half the population is under 15-years-old.
From that beginning, the Choose Life vision has grown. It grew from the streets of Zimbabwe and Zambia, to the hearts of educators and Bible workers in Congo, Kenya, and the UK.
Slowly, through the work of committed teachers, writers, and crucially through access to Kenyan classrooms, this vision has taken shape as Choose Life – a Bible-based educational programme to help children internalise the values they are taught, and really understand the consequences of the choices they make; empowering them to make good decisions for themselves and their communities.
The Choose Life programme consists of a series of modules, each one based on a theme. Choose Right focuses on honesty and integrity for example, Choose Love on healthy relationships. Each one researched and written specifically to respond to the challenges that African teenagers face every day. These themes are explored through Bible stories, drama, discussion, and through practical projects in the community.
Participating schools send their teachers for training days, where they are introduced to the lesson plans and learn the interactive teaching techniques. Students also receive five booklets to take home and keep as they complete the series.