The first Health Promoters @ School
With the introduction of the new curriculum after our first democratic elections in 1994, health teaching as an independent subject at schools was discontinued.
Last year the first five out of forty primary and high schools in the 3A circuit of the education district metropole central in Cape Town were invited by the Health Promotion South Africa Trust (HPSA) to participate in their first Health Promoter @ school project.
This project aims at giving students and their teachers the opportunity of being able to take care of their own health and to take the knowledge back to their homes.
At every school five parents were trained as Health Promoters by Andile Gqawuza, one of the Senior Health Promoters of HPSA.
Duane Miller, a parent at Norma Road Primary School in Silvertown, Athlone, is one of the new Health Promoters @ School.
“The Health Promoters at School Workshop was one of the best experiences we as parents had, not only learning and gaining knowledge on how we can really change the mind sets of our people in the communities but how we can improve their decision making in the future. It made us realize the importance of not taking our health for granted and also helping parents to understand what their children are going through including themselves. We have received amazing comments from teachers, principals and parents saying it’s not necessary to run around and get the wrong advice but just going to speak to the schools Health Promoters about their health and what needs to be done. We as Health Promoters @ School are glad to be part of this venture and making it known to the other communities will be our next aim where people are affected daily with Health and other personal issues. The Health Promoters @ Schools project has helped us grow by making proper decisions and surely it will help other communities as well. Change not only comes from us but listening and understanding to those that can help us will change our lives forever. Health Promotion South Africa I salute you for making this possible”.
The training added value to our parent volunteers, capacitated them and made them more marketable and employable. Our learners who are the primary recipients of this project are experiencing the richness of a group of exciting and newly trained volunteers who really goes the extra mile with planning of their presentations in class.
The Health Promoter @ school project has equipped our volunteers and they have the skills and abilities to establish themselves in their respective communities.
Branmal Swartz, Principal of the Norma Road Primary School wants to use this opportunity for thanking the Van Nierop Foundation in the Netherlands for introducing the education district metropole central in Cape Town to Dr. h.c. Harold Robles, special advisor of the Health Promotion South Africa Trust.
The first five lucky schools in the Athlone community are, Bridgeville Primary, Norma Road Primary, Cypress Primary, Blossom Street Primary and Alicedale Primary.
The first five principals are now the ambassadors of this project, doing everything within their power to promote it to their colleagues.
Some of the headmaster with Harold Robles (left), and George Arrey (right) from Health Promotion South Africa Trust
“As the training will be implemented and applied at our schools in the years to come I foresee that we will have healthier learners that are more knowledgeable about their personal health and well-being” said Swartz.
The ultimate goal of this project is that every student should be able to:
have sufficient knowledge on basic health and hygiene, have a positive attitude towards healthy habits, have a significant behavioral change towards health, teach their mates elsewhere and their various households about basic health and hygiene. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a great supporter of the activities of the Health Promoters was not able to attend the first graduation but sent the following message to graduates and the headmaster:
“What a great idea, empowering parents with healthcare information so they can become Health Promoter @ school.
Unfortunately I am not able to be with you today, but know that I am in sprit with all of you, especially those graduating today. I am very excited about the activities of Health Promotion South Africa Trust, but in particularly this one.
You all know that in many communities, health problems still stem from a simple lack of knowledge. In places where people are less educated, a problem such as diarrhea might be seen to be the work of witchcraft or superstition.
When so viewed, such a straightforward illness – which can be dealt with by having clean water and taking care of oneself – becomes a major problem, due only to the lack of basic healthcare knowledge. How do you help a dehydrated child become rehydrated? You teach the mother how, and she takes care of her child.
Healthcare knowledge is the key and the Health Promoters are making this all possible. I applaud the headmaster of the different schools for joining this program of the Health Promoters. Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge. This is the only way that we can make a difference in our country.
So do not give up, grow from strength to strength and make sure that every child is well informed that prevention is much better than cure.
A proud new Health Promoter @ School with George Arrey Please visit the website of Health Promotion South Africa Trust for more information about their activities: