Learner health is a lifelong passion

2017-02-21 10:35
Patricia Bailey, co-chairperson of the health-promoting school initiative at Levana Primary School, Soraya Solomon, who is stepping down, and coordinator Nicole Bailey from Levana Primary School.

Patricia Bailey, co-chairperson of the health-promoting school initiative at Levana Primary School, Soraya Solomon, who is stepping down, and coordinator Nicole Bailey from Levana Primary School. (Tiyese Jeranji)

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After 21 years of participating in the health-promoting school (HPS) initiative in the southern suburbs a former teacher is hanging up her robes.

Soraya Solomon, a former teacher at Lourier Primary School in Cafda and chairperson of the initiative, says it’s time to let others lead although she will be a lifelong member of the HPS.

Because she loves what she does, she will continue to help all the time – for the health of the learners.

HPS promotes wellness at school and encourages learners to live healthily. Each month participating schools have programmes that they have to focus on in educating learners and teachers.

Back in 1996 she accompanied the school nurse, sister Cherly Adams, to the HPS launch which was done by Dr Keith Cloete. It was a collaboration between school nurses and teachers.

“Adams then started the HPS cluster and I joined in. We did a lot of exhibitions and taught a lot of learners. Other people joined in as well.

“Thereafter, in 2006, we started our own cluster in the southern suburbs, which included schools from Wynberg all the way to Ocean View.

“The main thing was to discuss learner health, nutrition concerns and breakouts of diseases. We had to make sure that children are well looked after. We touched on all the issues that affect children.

“Working hand in hand more schools joined and look at it today. Teachers are putting their learners’ health on the forefront as well, which is very good,” she says.

Solomon says she is retiring, because the best result for school will be achieved if an HPS member is a teacher as well, to know the needs of the learners.

“I’m retiring, not to be on the forefront anymore and let others do it. I’m not a teacher anymore so I’m not in close contact with the learners. However, this is a passion for me, not just a job. So I will continue to work with the children and promote health as this is important,” says Solomon.

Since she is passing the baton to her co-chairperson, she believes the school is in good hands.

“Patricia Bailey is a strong, loyal HPS supporter. I wish her many more years as she is a very dynamic person. We must all work together for the good of our health and I’m happy that she will be the person to drive this going forward.

“Our children come from different communities with a lot of challenges but health promotion helps them a lot,” says Solomon.

Bailey, a teacher, says as a school they want to thank Solomon for her hard work.

“Her hard work will not be forgotten. She has done so much and we have learnt a lot from her.

“We are also encouraging all schools to be part of HPS and help learners and the community. This is also good for teachers as well, as they have self-care, which is very important.”

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