Simanyene asks victims to tell

2019-09-05 06:01
Phathuxolo Badi, Sakhile Gecwa and Luxolo Jekeqa on stage during the HIV/Aids and TB awareness event held at Simanyene Secondary School on Friday 23 August.PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

Phathuxolo Badi, Sakhile Gecwa and Luxolo Jekeqa on stage during the HIV/Aids and TB awareness event held at Simanyene Secondary School on Friday 23 August.PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

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“Report sexual abuse. Please speak up; we can’t help you if you’re quiet.”

This was the message passed on to learners of Simanyene Secondary School by Patricia Thakholi of PATCH, Helderberg Child Abuse Centre during an HIV and TB awareness programme at the school on Friday 23 August.

The campaign awareness was organised by the provincial education department’s Metro East Education District (MEED) office and saw various stakeholders sharing their message with learners and staff.

Lulama Matiwane, co-ordinator for HIV and TB for the MEED, said the programme aimed to limit what is seen at a school as a high risk among learners.

The programme also discussed teenage pregnancy as well as substance abuse. “The department provides Care and Support Assistance in various schools and organises sessions with 24 learners at a particular school. The programme accommodates 12 learners from Grade 9 and 12 in Grade 10, whom we call peer educators,” he said.

The learners meet twice a week to discuss different topics affecting them.

“The programme helps in ensuring that our learners have the time and space to disclose among themselves what may be affecting them.

“We have a challenge of overcrowding, so this space creates that platform for them,” he said.

Learners of the school also performed in a stage play on the day, demonstrating the effects of drug abuse and the damage the stigma has on those affected by HIV/Aids.

Thakholi urged learners to be “their sister’s keeper instead of sister’s killers”.

“Emotional abuse is within. So please speak up so you can get the help you need,” she encouraged.

Learner Khanyiswa Hulana believes it was important for learners to support one another. “HIV is not written in anyone’s face, so we must stop being judgemental. Let us treat one another with respect and support one another,” she said.

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