School kids taught healthy lifestyles

2018-05-31 06:01
Zukile Makhehla suffers lung cancer. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

Zukile Makhehla suffers lung cancer. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

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Gugulethu primary school children, staff and parents converged at the local library on Friday for an HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis awareness campaign organised by the Western Cape Department of Education, in an effort to educate and inform them about other relevant avenues that can also be utilised to fight social ills.

Among organisations working with the department is the Desmond Tutu Foundation, Ilitha Labantu, Sonke Gender and Justice and the Gugulethu Clinic.

About 48 learners from both Mseki and Xolani primary schools attended the event.

Xolile Makutwana, the department’s Care and Support Assistant, who is based at Mseki Primary School, described the event as a community uplifting programme aim at encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

He said their aim was to bring relevant awareness information to the communities.

“We want to empower the community by giving them hope in their dreams and also assist on how to attain them by providing guidance and equipment.

“We also inform them that not only clinics can provide help, but there are other institutions like Desmond Tutu Foundation, Ilitha Labantu and others which can assist them,” said Makutwana.

He said each school was represented by 24 learners.

“The program lasts for a year. There are about 12 learners from Grade 6 and others from Grade 7 each school.

“We change them each year and take other children,” he said.

Makutwana stated that the program was established three years ago, but it’s the first time the two schools participated.

Volunteer from Ilitha Labantu, Nomonde Tshandu described their organisation as a social development and empowering organisation fighting against violence inflicted on women, children and elders.

“We encourage people to speak out against violence abuse and bullying. Parents must listen to their children and educators mustn’t lash out at learners because they might get bullied by others at school and that can lead to suicide if not attended,” she said.

Parent Zukile Makhehla from NY 134 who is living with lung cancer said HIV/Aids and TB patients must not give up.

“HIV/Aids and TB are no longer killer diseases, especially when patients take their treatment, unlike cancer.

“Emeritus Bishop Desmond Tutu, who is living with prostrate cancer, once said cancer can be beaten and he is still alive. I was motivated by his words,” said Makhehla, adding that he has been living with lung cancer for six years.

“Grade 7 learner Ayakha Blayi (13) described the event as informative. “We were told that if anyone touches us on a part that you feel uncomfortable with, we must report it to our educators, parents or police station. We were also encouraged to report bullying to our educators,” said Blayi.

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