New Crossroads is one of the smaller and younger townships located in the Cape Town area. Approximately half a million people live here, some of them in newly built brick houses, others in shacks. The townships' biggest problem is unemployment, which reaches 45 percent in New Crossroads. The consequence is a high potential of crime, violence, alcohol, and drug abuse. Moreover, young girls see a possibility for a better life in soliciting (usually married) men in exchange for food, clothes and money. Today HIV is one of South Africas biggest problems and many people, even young children, are infected daily by such relationships or rape. The first step to break this vicious cycle are educational programs. These are initiated by the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust and include after school programs, music, sports, healths and prison outreach.
The Amy Biehl Foundation Trust is an example for the challenge of reconciliation in South Africa. Amy Biehl was a gifted young woman and US citizen who came to South Africa in 1992. She helped to develop voter registration programs for the nation's first all-race, post-Apartheid elections carried out in April 1994. On August 25, 1993 Amy Biehl's life was tragically cut short in an act of political mob violence in the Township Gugulethu, outside of Cape Town. Four young men were convicted and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for her murder. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established, the young men applied for amnesty. Determined to honor Amy's belief in the reconciliation process, Amy's parents participated in the Commission's hearings and supported amnesty for the youths; all four were granted amnesty and released from prison in 1998. In 1997 Amy Biehl's parents founded the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in Cape Town. Over the years the Foundation has flourished in its mission to Weave a Barrier Against Violence by emphasizing social, cultural and economic empowerment through its programs. Currently, two of the young men who were convicted of Amy's murder and granted amnesty work for the Foundation. They are a living embodiment of such values as forgiveness, reconciliation, and tolerance.