The Kwa-Thema Skills School hosted the international day of the girl child event on 28 October 2022, the event is usually hosted on 11 October annually, but due to other commitments faced by the Department of Education this year, the event was celebrated later. The event aimed to encourage girl-children to complete their schooling, that society does not want them to fall pregnant while still in high school. This has been proven to be a burden to a lot of girls who then struggle to pass their grade 12 well. It makes it difficult for them to get university admission. A matric pass only is not enough to secure success today, according to the Head of Department of Social Development, Thembeni Mhlongo.
Male learners were addressed as well. They were made to understand that even if the girl does get pregnant it is important that they take responsibility because teenage pregnancy is not just the responsibility of the girl and her family. The acting principal of the school, Mr Themba Maphalala highlighted the challenges female learners face at school, at home and in the community. Part of the challenges includes undermining, and also that still have girls who do not afford sanitary towels and as a result have to either miss school or use cloths when they are in their periods during school days, are stigmatised. Mr Maphalala also said that it is very important to familiarise learners with the digital area that is being taken up by the fourth industrial revolution.
Some of the other schools that honoured the invitation were Lefa-Ifa Secondary School, Nkumbulo Secondary School, Phulong Senior Secondary School, Laban Motlhabi High School, Tlakula High School, Geluksdal Secondary School and Nigel High School. The learners, teachers and community members who attended the event had a 1.5 KM walk around the school. Member of the executive council (MEC) Mbali Hlophe was also part of the guests. 2 learners posed questions to her in relation to HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, the LGBTQIA+ community, mental health, body-shaming, peer pressure, cyberbullying and gender-based-violence (GBV) to learners.
The ward councilor, Thulane Simelane said that it was a good program for a girl child and hoped that it spreads to the community at large because it has the potential to stop gangsterism in schools and keep learners well-behaved. Kwa-Thema Skills School head girl, Phindile Masilela (18) said, “I learnt a lot today as we were taught to stay away from boys and sex. Also, I learnt of my rights. I would advise women out there to never allow being bullied and abused by men.”
When addressing the learners and guests the MEC said, “The president has identified GBV as a national pandemic that we need to work around in raising consciousness across the country, particularly among men that patriarchy, violence, in particular, GBV is not a good thing. You may go through your difficulties but you do not take them out on your female counterpart.”
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