Tools for the right decision

2018-11-01 06:00
Sylvia Mzinyathi, a nurse at Ikhwezi Clinic in Nomzamo, shares information about conception with a group of girls at Khanyolwethu Secondary School. PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

Sylvia Mzinyathi, a nurse at Ikhwezi Clinic in Nomzamo, shares information about conception with a group of girls at Khanyolwethu Secondary School. PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

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A group of girls at Khanyolwethu Secondary School have been adopted by a programme to empower them to make informed decisions.

The programme was launched last year as a means to educate young girls on issues such as teenage pregnancy, HIV/Aids, sexuality and substance abuse. It is run by social worker Nandipha Mantini, who is assisted by a nurse during some sessions.

According to Mantini, the programme was specifically launched at Khanyolwethi Secondary, but she has also sent invitations to other local high schools. The discussions are held at the school every Tuesday.

At the sessions numerous topics, such as conception, menstruation and unplanned pregnancy, are discussed with the girl learners.

When City Vision visited the school on Tuesday 17 October, Sylvia Mzinyathi, a nurse at Ikhwezi Clinic, was engaging the learners on conception and menstruation. Learners were also granted the opportunity to pose questions, which were immediately answered by the panel of facilitators.

Mzinyathi said the clinic made the decision to adopt the school in terms of educating learners after noticing a high teenage pregnancy rate in Lwandle and its surrounding areas.

“Though Khanyolwethu was not affected by teenage pregnancies, as is the case with other schools in the area, we decided to adopt it as a secondary school,” she explained to City Vision.

“We need to empower these children with knowledge, so they can make informed decision in their lives.”

Mzinyathi added that one of the reasons the programme is important in the community is the fact that parents do not openly talk to their children about such topics as sex and pregnancy, among others.

“These children need to know the value they have as human beings and need to be proud of themselves,” she said. “At this young age they must know that HIV/Aids and STIs are a reality, and they need to safeguard themselves against it.

“We also encourage them to abstain from sex before marriage, but also tell those who are already sexually active to use condoms, be safe and not fall pregnant. We also warn them that falling pregnant at a young age has the potential to destabilise their futures.”

Mzinyathi says clinic staffers have received information about 13-year-olds not sleeping at home for an entire weekend. She believes today’s youth are more exposed through social media, which plays a huge part in their lives.

Mantini said about 15 learners attended and participate in the group discussions. She urged parents to speak openly to their children. “I know it is difficult for some parents, as they were not brought up in environments where these topics were discussed,” said Mantini.

“But things have changed and parents need to adapt, as children are already sharing this information with one another outside their homes.

“We want these young children to be empowered and not fall in the trap of being victims of ‘blessers’. As they grow, they should know they have the right to make decisions and we want to give them the information and tools to make these decisions. We know this will take time to master, but it must come to an end.”

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