Learners make a difference in the fight against gender-based violence | Western Cape Education Department
Learners make a difference in the fight against gender-based violence

Learners make a difference in the fight against gender-based violence

11 December 2020

Beacon Hill High School learners made their voices heard during a workshop about the importance of acting against gender-based violence (GBV).

The learner engagement session was hosted by Ismail Teladia, the Western Cape Education Department’s Senior Curriculum Planner for Life Orientation.

The programme was a collaboration with the Education Development Centre (EDC), USAID, PEPFAR (a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic), Wits RHI (the research institute of the University of the Witwatersrand) and the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC).

A group of Grade 10 and 11 learners took part in the conversation and rigorous debate on developing a different approach to stop gender-based violence. Learners shared their heartfelt stories and ideas on this very difficult challenge currently facing our communities.

After a hearty welcome from Beacon Hill High School Principal, Greg Kannemeyer, Teladia set the scene by sharing the impact of GBV in Mitchell’s Plain and the broader community.  He said that Life Orientation will be the catalyst to keep the conversation going. This was emphasized by the work and daily challenges revealed by the social workers at the Saartjie Baartman Centre.

Esda van der Watt-Broekman (EDC) shared an engaging presentation about the significance of using Life Orientation to debate issues around GBV.  Learners provided some solutions as interventions to empower people, combat address GBV in their lives and those of their friends and families.

Allesio Marcus, the chairperson of the Western Cape Representative Council of Learners (RCL) and a learner at Beacon Hill, was a true inspiration with his enthusiastic, emotional speech sharing shocking statistics.

The following were some of the interventions presented by the learners:

  • Emphasise values in education through Life Orientation, especially respect
  • Create safe platforms and spaces for learners dealing with GBV to speak
  • Rigorous discussions must be with the boy-child on all platforms
  • The Criminal Justice System must deliver on their mandate
  • RCLs must play a more significant role
  • There must be emphasis on the responsible use of social media
  • Engagement with parents on GBV at schools’ parent meetings
  • Respect for the LGBTQI community

The workshop was an empowered initiative and a much-needed platform to hear the voices of the learners in combatting this scourge that is impacting society.

Teladia said everyone has a role to play in arresting GBV, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and drop-outs amongst others. It must be a collective approach.

Haroon Mohamed, Chief Director: Curriculum Management and Teacher Development, spoke to the importance of collaboration and the WCED’s commitment to use all its resources to combat these social ills.

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