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Media Release

Wednesday, 28 August, 2002

Schools, civil society join forces in Schools’ HIV/AIDS Week

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

About 240 schools in the southern Peninsula and surrounding areas are joining forces with a variety of organisations to mark National Schools’ HIV/AIDS Week taking place from 2 to 8 September 2002.

The primary aim of their activities will be to encourage healthier lifestyles and relationships, which will help to reduce HIV infection rates in the long term.

The Metropole South education district of the Western Cape Education Department has formed a partnership with the National Association of School Governing Bodies and non-governmental and community organisations to organise a special programme for the week.

The district stretches south from Wynberg, taking in Steenberg, Retreat, Lavender Hill, Grassy Park, Lotus River, Zeekoevlei, Pelican Park, Strandfontein, Mitchell’s Plain, Langa, Gugulethu, Crossroads, Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Simonstown and Hout Bay.

The programme will focus on relationships rather than the sexual act itself. It will deal with issues such as child abuse and the rights of children; girl child development; and abusive relationships, focusing in particular on the abuse of women.

The organisers are collecting resource materials from State departments and NGOs, and will assist teachers in providing guidance on using the materials. They hope to provide at least one HIV counselor to each school to offer presentations on the relevant issues.

The partnership plans to use the powerful medium of the creative and performing arts – theatre, dance and visual art – to stimulate thinking around the relevant issues. School principals and HIV school convenors met last week to finalise and coordinate their preparations for the week.

The partnership will consider ways of continuing these efforts through similar projects in the future once the activities planned for the HIV/AIDS Weeks have been concluded.

Media inquiries:
Ruhan Robbertze
Cell: 082 577 6551
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