Becoming the change they want to see among peers

2012-10-11 00:00

TWENTY Woodlands Secondary School pupils have taken it upon themselves to become the change they want to see among their peers at their school.

They have set a positive example for other pupils and yesterday graduated after completing their second year of the Safety Ambassadors Programme which was launched by the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) in schools around the country last year.

The proud and excited pupils, all in Grade 11, cheered each other on while their names were called to receive certificates and official ambassador’s badge.

Parents were all smiles as they witnessed and celebrated their children’s achievement.

The programme is aimed at combating crime in schools.

Woodlands Secondary was the first school in Pietermaritzburg to participate in the programme.

“I work with children that are sent to me from court for committing petty crime. We get a lot of children from this school,” said Dinalise Swart, a Nicro social worker.

She said they teach pupils skills so that they can help their peers.

It runs for three years and starts from Grade 10 and ends at Grade 12.

The safety ambassadors have been taught about conflict resolution, the consequences of crime, working around rights and responsibility and about bullying, which Swart highlighted as a major issue.

“We are helping the school to develop a no bullying policy.

“The children are also helping each other. They talk to the bully and the person being bullied and try to resolve the issue.”

Swart told The Witness that since the programme was launched, she has seen a big increase in the pupils’ self confidence and their leadership skills.

An enthusiastic Sinovuyo Sipholi (16), a Grade 11 safety ambassador, said they have learned valuable lessons.

“The programme teaches us to be leaders, to have self confidence and to stand up for not only ourselves, but for others as well,” the young leader said.

She said she has enjoyed being a part of the programme.

Another safety ambassador, Ryan Freddy (17), also in Grade 11, told The Witness that they also learned to develop their individual strengths.

“We were taught how to stay motivated and encourage others and help those who are facing challenges,” he said. “The prgramme has been a great experience for us.”

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