At 12,9% the prevalence rate of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in Jacobsdal is eight times higher than the world average.
In 2019 South Africa – at 28,2% – had the highest reported FASD prevalence rate in the world. The worldwide rate is 1,5%. This is according to the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR).
To emphasise awareness on FASD, community members of Jacobsdal recently got the opportunity to commemorate International FASD Day, which was on 9 September.
Esmé Viljoen, FARR project coordinator, rang a bell, calling all presence to action in raising awareness on FASD.
Viljoen emphasised that pregnant women must abstain from the use of any alcohol during the full nine months of pregnancy.
Shamil Mahammad, principal of the Phambili School, called on men as fathers to support their pregnant partners to have alcohol-free pregnancies.
Ansie Botes, a teacher at the Ikanyegeng Combined School, shared the challenges faced by educators when teaching learners with FASD.
This part of the programme ended with the cutting of the traditional FARR cake.
After that, it was time for the famous Jacobsdal’s “Draadkar” Grand Prix which took place at Jakkies Opwaarts Sentrum, a centre for children and young adults with multiple disabilities.
Learners and teachers from four schools in the district gathered at the centre for the 90 m race, and 120 very excited learners participated, keeping the volunteer race officials, Patricia Mack (FARR community worker) and Viljoen, on their toes.
The racers competed in four age categories (Gr. R and Gr. 1, Gr. 2 and Gr. 3, Gr. 4 and Gr. 5, and Gr. 6 and Gr. 7), and in different divisions such as handmade “draadkarre”, ready-made models and the most original and creative models.
Despite of the heat and the dusty, uneven racing track, the competition was fierce and serious. The winner and two runner-ups in each category received a medal and a prize.
A total of 36 medals and prizes, sponsored by Aware.org and local small businesses. were handed over.
Viljoen thanks the small businesses for sponsorships, and Aware.org for a considerable contribution.
Visit the website farrsa.org.za for more information, or the Facebook page FARR.
– Adapted Helena Barnard