South Africa: Peer Education

The Beaded Anklet project has had to halt its youth entrepreneur programme due to death threats issued by the ’blessers’ who target and exploit local vulnerable girls. These ‘blessers’, or sugar daddies, in many cases hold positions of authority in the local community, so they made it very difficult for the programme to continue.

Determined to continue supporting the local children, the Crossroads team took the education part of the work into 3 schools in the iLembe District of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where it is safer for the team and the children.

Five of the team attended acet UK’s online Relationships and Sex Education course with Lynette, the project leader and qualified teacher, completing the university-level accreditation. The team has adapted the acet UK curriculum for South African rural schools and created some of their own resources and ways to teach.

Using a Peer Education program, the team has covered topics on relationships and sex education in order to build self-esteem. The children are aged between 12 and 14 years old and classes are taught in English and isiZulu. The success of the project has led to numerous requests to visit other schools, so the project will be expanding!

Thanks to your support, 185 young people have learnt about HIV, puberty, substance abuse, goal setting, how to set healthy boundaries, how to remain true to their personal values, and how to communicate effectively. They have also learnt about money management and business skills.

Because class sizes are so big (usually over 70 per class and sometimes over 100!) 4 of the peer education team visits each school so that they can split the classes into more manageable groups of 20-30 young people.

The Peer Educator Team, who are all in their early 20s, visit all 3 schools, every week, for hour-long sessions, with these same 185 young people, meaning that these pupils are getting an amazing 40+ hours a year of relationships and sex education! 

12 year old Sarah12-year-old, Sarah, says:

"Life before Beaded Anklet was depressing and very lonely. I have had a difficult life growing up because I was constantly bullied.  

When one of the facilitators introduced the Beaded Anklet Project, I was so excited! I have learnt that boys and girls are all equal and we can do just about anything equally. I have learnt public speaking, self-awareness and critical thinking.

It’s helped me grow as a person. I plan to use it by offering solutions instead of complaints when faced with a problem. I have become braver than I was before and stand strong in what I believe in."