About 100 girls between 14 -18 years from different schools and villages around Ha-Makuya, Tshikondeni gathered at Research Conference Centre to receive education about how to take care of themselves.

The 11th October 2017 marks the 6th Annual International day of Girl Child. The Community Engagement Directorate in collaboration with SheReigns and Naledi Foundation co-hosted the 06th Annual International Day for the Girl Child Summit on Saturday, 07 October 2017 at the Research Conference Centre. The summit was attended by girls between 14 -18 years from different schools and villages around Ha-Makuya, Tshikondeni and other surrounding villages.

The objectives of the summit amongst others were to encourage each girl to be an independent thinker and self-learner; to introduce girls to the importance of technology and giving a basic coding class and to increase support of tribal authorities in the development of girl child.

Never allow anyone to rob you to engage into sexual activities -Ms Mukonazwothe Netshifhefhe

Ms Mukonazwothe Netshifhefhe, a third year nursing student at Univen encouraged the young girls to abstain from sexual activities. She advised them to focus on education because engaging in sexual activities will delay their dreams. She echoed that abstaining from sex will minimise the chances of having cervical cancer, HIV and AIDS infections, pragnancy and STIs.

“Be able to control your feelings. I wont encourage you to use condoms because girls at your age are not expected to be engaging in such activities,” she reiterated. She indicated that family planning is not for girls at their age but for those who are about to start families. Ms Netshifhefhe pointed that girls should never allow their friends and boyfriends force or rob them to engage into sex. She concluded by advising the young girls who will be going to tertiary institutions in 2018 to behave and be careful about older men who do not want relationships but to use them for sexual pleasure.

Always have your cellphone with you wherever you go – Ms Lalumbe Makuya

Ms Lalumbe Makuya, Project Director of Naledi Foundation encouraged the girls to always carry handbags wherever they go because it will contain all necessary accessories needed during emergency. She also advised them to delay entering into sexual relationships.

Education first and the rest shall follow -Ndifhedzo Munyai

The summary for the key lessons of the day was done by learners who volunteered. Ndifhedzo Munyai (16), a grade eight learner from Fhetani Secondary School walked away with Sunbeam iron because she was annouced to be the girl who understood almost everything that was being taught during the event. Ndifhedzo said she have learned most things that she was not aware of and she will also educate other girls about them when she goes back home in Sanari village. “The key is to focus on education first and the rest shall follow,” she expressed.

Ms Mercy Sasunhwa is happy because the event was a success

Mercy Sasunhwa, a third year BCOM Accounting student at Univen and Univen Shereigns President said the event was a success. “We expected learners from different schools and l was amazed by their attendance, their level of thinking, and they seem to have a great understanding of how women should conduct themselves.

Prof Vhonani Netshandama said the girls are able to visualise the future they imagine and she thanked Univen for making the event possible

Univen’s Director of Community Engagement, Prof Vhonani Netshandama said the reason why Univen collaborate with NPOs to do these kind of work is that there are multiple benefits. She said “firstly when SheReigns students interact with a group of 100 leaners, they learn about the realities of what it means to be in grade 8-12, something they experienced not so long ago. They learn to organise, coordinate, engage in selfless activities, give their time, and energy on crafting the much desirable change in the lives of their younger sisters.

She further said that the learners see possibilities. They see how it looks like to be a 3rd year BCOm accounting student, or an LLB student. “They are able to visualise the future they imagine. If 13 SheReigns (UNIVEN) students are able to each inspire 100 girls, 1300 girls will be inspired, and the future of the supposedly marginalised girls would be brighter.”

She added that the University as an institution gets to break its wall, be accessible and contibute towards learning outside of the classroom. She alluded that an engaged university is largely a responsive university. “Most leaners had never been to any university, let alone interacted with university students and this will make an impact in their lives,” concluded Prof Netshandama.

Some of the girls and their mentors playing games as part of their education programme of the day outside Research Conference Centre

Prof Netshandama, the girls and mentors posing for a group photo displaying the gifts they received during the event

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel.: (015) 962 8525
Date: 10 October 2017

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