Restoring girls’ dignity

2018-11-27 06:01
Kensington police spokesperson, Sergeant Angeline Grill, and the children use a balloon activity to symbolise the girls’ rejection of negative perceptions.PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

Kensington police spokesperson, Sergeant Angeline Grill, and the children use a balloon activity to symbolise the girls’ rejection of negative perceptions.PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

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A group of schoolgirls left the local community hall high with confidence last week. This was after an exciting day of learning about their identity, belonging and purpose.

The girls from Sunderland Primary School in Factreton were part of Dignity Day, a programme run by The Dignity Campaign, an organisation that helps women and children restore their dignity.

The Dignity Campaign’s Amanda Shold explains: “When we have a Dignity Day we talk to girls about who they are – their purpose, value, the fact that they belong, and teach them how their bodies are made, how they operate and how they can care for themselves during their menstrual period, and we provide them with reusable menstrual supplies to keep them from dropping out of school.”

She says they strongly encourage the girls to opt for the reusable pads instead of disposable ones as they are environmentally friendly, are good for their bodies and can last them five years or more.

At the Factreton Community Hall, the Grade 7 learners were taken through a number of interactive, creative and educational activities thanks to the partnership between the Dignity Campaign and local police.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Angeline Grill explains that the event was organised as a launch of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, which started on Sunday 25 November nationally.

Grill says the schools is located “in the heart of gang violence” and that was one of the criteria used in choosing the girls.

“We have high volumes of domestic violence and the girls are exposed to violence inside and outside their homes and we wanted to give them some down time and show them the importance of a campaign like this where they know the options they have such as to report abuse,” says Grill.

The Dignity campaign, based in Muizenberg, offers training to women interested in contributing to improving the lives of South African girls.

“Once you are trained and ready to run a Dignity Day, we will provide you with the curriculum and workshop materials, give advice, and assist you in marketing and fundraising for your campaign,” says Shold.

Grill has also received the training.

Facilitator Crystal Kannemeyer, led the programme on the day.

She explains that the girls get taught a variety of subjects including sex, relationships, good choices, dreams, leadership and the importance of God.

“I wanted to help them understand what it is to be a woman today, so they can have a voice, have an impact.”

She says the highlight for her is how the girls are able to form a “sisterhood” after the event.

The girls would then attend a 12-week Cherish Dignity Programme.

V For more information on the Dignity Campaign, visit www.dignity.org.za.

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