UKZN Women Combine to Help Young FolkLaw and Management Studies

The women behind a community engagement project (from left): Ms Nontuthuko Sibiya; Ms Relebohile Lekoetje; Ms Londiwe Masikane and Ms Juwairiyya Paruk.The women behind a community engagement project (from left): Ms Nontuthuko Sibiya; Ms Relebohile Lekoetje; Ms Londiwe Masikane and Ms Juwairiyya Paruk.

A group of UKZN’s College of Health Sciences fourth year Occupational Therapy students are running a youth focused community engagement project called, “Girls on Fleek!”

Directed by Mariannridge High School Grade 8 and Grade 9 female learners, the project focuses on issues currently facing the youth and how they affect their health and well-being.

The programme is specifically focused on four major topics; self-confidence, assertiveness, interpersonal relationships and sexual education.

Ms Londiwe Masikane said the topics target the root of concern areas identified to enable a person to think beyond what they are taught. ‘They need to be confident in their thoughts, and believe in possibility.’

The project also aims to reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancy and substance abuse which are prevalent in this community.

The team, comprising Masikane, Ms Juwairiyya Paruk, Ms Nontuthuko Sibiya and Ms Relebohile Lekoetje explores the topics in depth together with the learners in order to prevent them from being involved in such behaviours and situations.

The group holds talks during Life Orientation (LO) periods - a slot given to them Monday to Friday by the school’s LO teacher.

‘Our concern as a society is our youth, because of the manner in which they are “taught” to think. Our youth are constantly bombarded and influenced by the contents provided by the media. This influence is profound due to the accessibility to technological devices. Our youth are influenced by adults that surround them, their behaviour, and their life choices,’ Sibiya said.

According to the group, the project challenges the manner in which the youth think. ‘By presenting information to them, hopefully it will alter the contents of their thoughts,’ said Paruk. ‘We all deserve to think beyond what we deem possible!’ said Lekoetje.

Nombuso Dlamini