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Camp teaches about social ills

Learners of St Andrews High School in Elsies River were treated with a two-day camp organised by councillor for ward 25, Beverley van Reenen and the City of Cape Town.

This camp, which was in celebration of Human Rights Day, sought to focus on the high-risk environments to which the youth are exposed.

Accoring to van Reenen, the high-risk environment results in substance abuse, bullying, teenage pregnancy, violence and other risky behaviours as coping mechanisms.

“These behaviours in turn have a knock-on effect throughout the lives of such youth and contribute towards the many social and educational ills and problems they face, many with devastating consequences.

“On the contrary many youths that have been exposed to these high risk environments struggle to express themselves appropriately.”

She said the the programme started at Melkbos Oppiesee in Melkbos Strand and continued at Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve in Atlantis.

The program was aimed at 45 learners who all form part of the schools Cadet Team.

“During this two-day session, the law-enforcement and social development directorates were present. They took these youngsters through some of the abovementioned life skills programs to provide them with a platform to make their ideas known.

“The aim was to let their voices be heard, but in a way that is constructive and problem-solving, instead of just being angry.

“They were also taught survival skills which ended with a ‘potjiekos’ competition,” said van Reenen.

Mayor Dan Plato and Mayco member for social services, JP Smith, addressed the learners at Melkbos Oppiesee on life-skills issues.

Van Reenen added that she is optimistic and trusts that a unique bond will develop between the learners, teachers and the departments. “This will create an environment that will help to develop mutual respect, empathy, patience, confidence, responsibility and assertiveness in order for them to overcome past and future trauma.”

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