Providing children with life skills

2018-07-24 06:01
PHOTO: phindile shoziTeachers and Hact staff members (from left) Mafika Gumede, Candace Davidson, Pemla Mtshali, Shenice Naidoo, Sindisiwe Ngwane, Silindile Ngidi, Nokwanda Mfusi and Sam Mtshali.

PHOTO: phindile shoziTeachers and Hact staff members (from left) Mafika Gumede, Candace Davidson, Pemla Mtshali, Shenice Naidoo, Sindisiwe Ngwane, Silindile Ngidi, Nokwanda Mfusi and Sam Mtshali.

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WORKING towards upskilling children with skills needed to protect themselves from HIV infection, and to make wise choices about their health and future, the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (Hact) has launched a Life Skills training course in schools in the area.

Hact CEO Candace Davidson said they are delivering Life Skills education courses in five primary schools, reaching 500 children across grades five to seven.

“Our Life Skills curriculum, developed in-house by our Education Team, addresses HIV/Aids, STIs, Aids-related stigma, risk-taking behaviour, goal setting, vision for one’s future, and other issues that we feel are impacting on youth.

“Our facilitators visit each class twice per month during the school term for a 45 minute session. The programme includes performances during which the pupils use dance, poetry and song to communicate messages about HIV to their peers,” she said.

Davidson said that a small number of the top performing pupils are selected to attend a two-day outdoor adventure camp at the year’s end, as a way of encouraging them and recognising their outstanding academic achievements.

“We also run an annual Positive Lifestyles event in August that brings together all pupils from the five schools to compete in music, dance, drama and poetry — using the arts to communicate messages and teachings from the Life Skills programme. The schools we are working in report decreased rates of teenage pregnancy and an improvement in academic results, as our course emphasise the importance of having a vision for one’s future and the role that education plays in that future.”

Life Skills Programme coordinator at Hact, Pemla Mtshali, said they are teaching these teachers so that they’ll be able to pass on the knowledge to children at school as the parents sometimes find it hard to engage with children on such topics.

“You find that some children are brought up by their grandmothers and they don’t know where to start to tell them about HIV, sex and what these changes in their bodies mean. That is why we took it upon ourselves to do these life skills programme, to help and teach the youth,” she explained.

She said that they have come across a number of children who don’t know much about these topics. “We don’t want the children to say they weren’t taught about them one day when they find themselves in bad situations,” she said.

To find out more, or how to invite the team to provide skills to your school, e-mail, info@hillaids.org.za

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