MEET a youth group at Thuto Lesedi Secondary School in Vosloorus, who tackled the twin problems of bullying and cyberbullying – and ended them!
The group members are graduates of the Columba Leadership Programme. The programme teaches young people how to take control of their lives.
Last year, the pupils suffered from a dramatic increase in bullying compared to 2015. Most victims were grade 8 pupils. They were bullied because they came from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
There was also an alarming increase of rape in the community . . .
The Columba leadership group launched the project by recruiting the bullies. With the bullies, they organised silent protests at lunch breaks – groups of students taped their mouths closed and carried anti-bullying and anti-rape placards. The result has almost completely ended bullying and cyberbullying at the school.
Girl-Talk, another youth-led project at the same school, addressed the challenges and pressures faced by schoolgirls, including substance abuse, teen pregnancy and verbal abuse. The first school workshop took place last year – this year’s main event was hosted in Midrand and 100 students attended.
The project is so successful that they have started Boy-Talk to address the same issues with male pupils.
“Treating young people as passive consumers of education is incredibly limiting,” said Tracy Hackland, CEO of Columba Leadership.
Rob Taylor, founding chairman of Columba, said: “What makes Columba’s programme unique is that it focuses on helping youth help themselves.
“Our experience has taught us that when you make young people responsible for their own lives, and give them the tools to succeed, they transform themselves and their communities.”
For more information, visit www.columba.org.za, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 011 440 5790.