From the moment the bell rang at Ukusakwabasha Primary School, deep in the Valley of 1000 Hills, the students were singing and dancing to the tune of Ncami and Sbu’s clapping. Effortlessly laying a positive foundation for the students’ future, both facilitators covered topics of adolescent body change, sexual health and interpersonal relationships, drawing each student into the conversation. As a student of the health sciences and community studies, I was as captivated as the young learners at the way such valuable information was being imparted.
Currently on placement with Oxfam in South Africa, I had the pleasure of spending a day visiting Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) to learn about their work in their community. Being invited to the Life Skills sessions was a very special experience. What was just another day at the office for Ncami and Sbu, seemed to me to be an outstanding performance in engaging young learners on key issues they will face over the next 10-15 years of their lives, if not more.
In three consecutive sessions we passed through grades 5, 6 and 7. Each grade was in the midst of a 10 module peer-education package, which they will receive each year as they pass through each of these three grades. With each year reinforcing previous lessons learned, the HACT approach to school education was the one of the most amazing programs I had come across, after participating in several other school education sessions from other organisations.
As Ncami and Sbu look for more volunteers to expand their program to reach many more schools, it’s exciting to know that such a great team is preparing the young learners of the Valley of 1000 Hills for a bright future. “If you want to learn how to captivate 40 grade 5 students and teach them life skills then spend a day with the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust Education team”.
Photograph: A morning with the children at Ukusakwabasha Primary School