News in South Africa
Parents engage community
PORT ELIZABETH PARENTS TACKLE:
Bullying, vulnerability and stigma
Twenty Volunteers from the Zinyoka Community in Govan Mbeki Township were trained on the OLIVE LEAF Foundation Parent Empowerment Programme (PEP). The parents formed a Parent Action Team (PAT) to enable them to apply their newly acquired skills in the schools and the community. Plenary sessions on bullying in schools, linked to low self esteem, were listed as a major behavioral problems in schools. A four day programme was designed that involved visits to schools and the identification of learners with bullying tendencies.
A visit to the home of an affected learner followed, where parents assisted with moderating the unsocial behavior of the learner. En route, children orphaned and made vulnerable thrgouh HIV/ADIS were identified and assisted with the planting of vegetable gardens. This caring attitude of the Parent Action Team (PAT) assisted in building self-esteem in the orphaned and vulnerable children as they developed a sense of belonging to the community that cares.
At one of the targeted schools, Cebelihle Primary School, the principal Sipho Matyolo, said,” Since 1996 we have noticed that there were many parents reluctant to disclose their HIV status and that of their children” The Parent Action Team (PAT) came with a proposal to address stigma and with the cooperation of Allied Banks of South Africa (ABSA), a counseling room manned by the Health Volunteers Parent Action Team (PAT) was established. As counseling involves effective listening skills, the Parent Empowerment Program equipped the Health Volunteers with skills to meet the needs of the community.
Furthermore, the Health Volunteers are involved in trauma counseling and their skills have been further enhanced by the Parenting Empowerment Programme as it deals with topics on understanding children’s Behavior and Listening to Children’s Feelings.
The impact of the Health Volunteers Parent Action Team in the community has been tremendous and a local newspaper “The Herald – 11 September 2008” carried the story of the counseling room launch. In the picture, the education district acting director Tandeka Mbopa, psychotherapist Dr. Mzimkhulu Fatman and Principal Sipho Matyolo appear, together with two learners, in the counseling room. Guest speaker, Dr. Mzimkhulu Fatman (sigh) the children needed to be counseled to deal with the diseases, “If we can save one person from HIV, we’ve converted the world.”
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