There is still a chance for a better community

There is still a chance for a better community

Date: 7/26/2013

Author: ​Mathapelo Nhlapo

Children made their voices heard during a community dialogue held in Orange Farm, attended by learners, parents, teachers and community members.

They shared, by role playing, actions they would take if they were elders in society with a view to build a community that is safer and less violent. The dialogue was held at Tshepana Primary School. “As a parent, I would not use my child’s grant money for my own benefit, I would not send my child to buy me alcohol, I would respect my child’s rights and I would not smoke in front of my child,” said Samkelikisiwe Nkondlwane, a 12 years old girl.

The dialogue is part of the Camp I Am: Youth and Community Dialogue. The Camp I Am School Holiday Programme offers life skills development, educational enrichment and healthy entertainment for youth between 7 to 15 years old. It takes place from 8h00 to 15h30 weekdays. Its primary aim is to keep children safe and busy during holidays. This year’s theme is ‘Active Citizen’ to promote everyone to play a role to make South Africa a better country. The programme includes many daily activities.Other roles performed by the learners during the dialogue were that of education representatives, local government officials, gender activists, court judges, school governing body (SGB) and South African Police Services (SAPS). The dialogue moderator was Shaka Sisulu, the Founder of Cheese Kids. He said the children raised tough issues.The audience of the dialogue included parents, GDE officials, SAPS, and SGB members. They all took turns in answering questions and correcting facts for the learners.

Kai Crooks-Chissano, a former United Nations Adviser is the camp’s Executive Director. She said the programme is originally an idea from her daughter and was launched in 2010. The motto of the programme is ‘I am whatever I want to be, as long as it’s good for me and my community’. It has been hosted in the Western Cape, Free State, North West and Eastern Cape provinces. “What you hear today are the voices of our children.  The motto of our camp reflects our unique camp experience, in which every child feels cared for, is confident to express their feelings and empowered to imagine whatever they want to be,” said Crooks-Chissano.

Camp I Am School Holiday Programme uses the GDE Values in Education such as human dignity, social justice and equity, democracy, accountability, etc. to address issues namely bullying, racism, teenage pregnancy, etc. Addressing the audience guests that attended Tsibane Seabi the deputy chief education specialist in GDE said:“As a parent you have to know what your child is learning at school. It’s your right to know the progress of your child. Do not come to school to only complain but also to commend a job well done.”

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