SA-US exchange inspires pupils

2015-05-05 06:00
During their weeklong stay in Cape Town, the American pupils and teachers were shown around the city by their hosts from Manenberg High School.

PHOTO: 
supplied

During their weeklong stay in Cape Town, the American pupils and teachers were shown around the city by their hosts from Manenberg High School. PHOTO: supplied

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Aunique project to promote awareness and help curb the spread of HIV/Aids is well on track at Manenberg High School, after a visit by representatives from its partner school Artesia High School in California last week.

The project was launched in 2011 and sees teacher and pupil exchanges between the two schools.

Manenberg High School and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) are currently hosting two teachers and four learners from America.

“The project brings pupils and teachers from each high school together every year so that they can meet and talk about HIV/Aids and the effect it has on their peers, school, family and the communities which they live in,” says Jonavon Rustin, provincial secretary of SADTU, in a statement.

The Manenberg Artesia Aids Project (MAAP) is sponsored and supported by SADTU and the American Federation of Teachers.

According to Rustin the aim of the project is to “address the HIV/Aids pandemic by encouraging young people through teen speak to promote awareness among their peers at their respective schools”.

During their weeklong visit to Cape Town, the American pupils and teachers participated in the planning for future projects.

They also visited the Saint Joseph’s Hospital Sunshine Ward, which was adopted by the two schools. The ward serves children with infectious diseases.

Rustin says the MAAP initiative is unique as its goal is to focus on how high school pupils communicate with each other on the topic of HIV/Aids.

“The project provides pupils with facts instead of myths, sensitivity instead of stigma and opportunities to share correct information with their peers. The MAAP project has been successful and we hope to expand it to other high schools in future,” he says.

Sidney Williams, teacher and MAAP coordinator at Manenberg High School, says the local pupils are “more advanced in terms of knowledge regarding HIV/Aids”.

“Our curriculum includes HIV/Aids education in Grade 8 and 9, whereas the pandemic is only mentioned in the Americans’ curriculum in Grade 7 and 10.”

He says the Manenberg pupils have learnt much through the project and by exchanging knowledge and resources with the Artesia pupils and teachers.

“Many of our pupils were not even aware of the Sunflower Ward, but they are now. We have also had more interest from pupils and more pupils want to get involved with the MAAP initiative, especially after the recent visit from the Artesia pupils and teachers,” says Williams

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