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2018-06-27 06:00
The banner to signify the team’ programme.Photo: Supplied

The banner to signify the team’ programme.Photo: Supplied

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The ‘Dimpho Project’ was initiated in memory of a Grade 9 learner who committed suicide at Wrenchville High School last year in 2017.

That is the theme of Wrenchville High school’s 2018 YCAP team, that led to their scooping the provincial title on Saturday 16 June.

The team, consists of 10 girls who are focused on breaking the stigma and silence associated with suicide and has thus made it to the top position for the second time in a row.

That is after they only managed to receive second position in the national competition.

Wrenchville High School will now represent the province at the national YCAP Championships to be held in Mpumalanga from 27-29 July 2018.

On Saturday 16 June, where they competed where four High and three Primary Schools showcased their talents in Upington.

Dimpho Moetsi committed suicide in 2017 at the age of 15 while shew was in grade 9.

Among the highlights of their project were the creation of a Facebook page named Dimpho project - YCAP Facebook group. To this date our Facebook page has earned more than 1000 likes, where the Facebook group has earned more than 3500 members.

“They also made an anti-suicide video and this video is busy going viral by reaching more than 20 000 people.

According to their mentor and teacher Micheal Ludick, the team held an anti-suicide week at the school from 19-23 March.

They further hosted a speech and dance at assembly which addressed main issues related to parenting, drug and alcohol abuse, body image, bullying, peer pressure and wrong relationships.

And on Tuesday we had semi-colon tattoos we designed for free with all learners.

“The semi-colon tattoos, the semi-colon represent a sentence the author could have ended but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life. Don’t end your life.,”

They participated in a silent protest in Kuruman town on Human Rights day, where they taped their mouths shut and walked around with messages that read ‘It’s not your right to take your life, there is hope after a suicide attempt.’

On Thursday they had a pledge signing ceremony where learners took paint and out it on their hands then onto a banner pledging to not commit suicide. They also released yellow balloons into the air in memory of people lost to suicide including Dimpho.

“On Friday we ran a campaign of a Fat Cake sales to raise funds for visitors coming from Zambia towards the launch of the yellow ribbon project in South Africa.

The Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program is a program which started in the United Sates of America.

To this day the campaign saw more than 18 6 004(eighteen million six hundred and four) cards, which include 850 cards distributed at Wrenchville High school.

More than 100 000 lives of people are reported to have being saved through this project, of which they have 6 972 chapters and program sites throughout the world.

The team is now proud to be regarded the first chapter of this project in South Africa and the second chapter in the whole of Africa.

“The partnership was sealed by the delegation from Zambians whom we hosted from 2-5 May at our school to launch the project.

The project further saw the realization of a gatekeeper training for the teachers, who were taught how to identify learners and support them if they are suicidal.

Trainees peer education training was conducted for learners on how to help each other, including themselves.

“We distributed more than 850 cards, arm bands sponsored by the South African Depression and Anxiety group, flyers and information regarding suicide and yellow ribbons. Now teachers who are gatekeepers can truly help our learners.”

To conclude their programme, a Miss YCAP beauty pageant, which attracted more than 400 young people from all over including models from Kalahari High School, was hosted at Wrenchville Civic Centre, where models carried anti-suicide boards and spread this positive message.

The message portrayed was also on going against negative body image and being beautiful in their own skin.

Wrenchville Primary was treated to an assembly, where assembly with the grade 4-7 learners motivated on spreading the anti-suicide project.

“We had a free hug day at the mall were we motivated all people we could find giving them hugs and motivational cards with the suicide prevention helpline number on it. “

Ludick applauded the project, including the hard work that the learners put into it, for being impactful on the learners attending school at Wrenchville High School, the teachers and people around the community.

The learners tested their impact by having pre and post questionnaires distributed at the school.

The percentage of depressed learners at the school, according to Ludick, is reported to have dropped from 81,8% to 29,29% while the percentage of learners who want to commit suicide dropped from 75% to 14,8%.

“Therefore the team really made a difference and taught learners that their lives matters and they should not commit suicide,” he concluded with satisfaction.

Aanhaling asb!

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