An update from ALERT’s Basic Life Skills course in Gweru
February 8 2017

The Gweru Drop-in Centre caters to the needs of the city’s street-children, aiming to rehabilitate them into mainstream society and education, reunifying them with their families, and providing a meal every week day.  Through ALERT, a Basic Life Skills course was introduced to help students develop ‘soft skills’ that will support them in their lives.

In January, the focus of the Basic Life Skills course was personal hygiene.  As the Drop-in Centre caters for young people living on the streets, it is important for them to be educated about the need to practice good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of infection and to help keep them healthy.

The lesson covered the definition of personal hygiene, it’s importance, and how it can be maintained by introducing simple steps, such as washing often and keeping teeth and fingernails clean.  After being taught about the hazards caused by poor personal hygiene, the children were tasked with demonstrating the actions involved in washing their face, washing their hair, taking a bath, and brushing their teeth.  It was done with much laughter, but the children showed that they were able to carry out the steps properly.  As well as looking after themselves, they were taught that they must also keep their environment clean - using dustbins to dispose of litter and washing plates after use - to prevent the spread of disease.  

As many of the street children arrive at the Drop-in Centre unwashed and with dirty clothes, facilities are provided for them to shower and do their laundry, however they have shown little interest in making use of them.  It is hoped that this lesson will encourage the children to want to take care of themselves and to be more aware of keeping their environment clean.


About Kids Club

Kids Club is our opportunity to implement our Basic Life Skills Course.  The aim of the course is to assist children and adolescents to gain essential skills needed to operate effectively in society in an active and constructive way.  Topics in the course include; self-esteem, coping with stress, effective communication, decision making, problem solving and non-violent conflict resolution.  The course has been developed by David Brackstone of John Taylor High School, UK using a programme in use at that school and adapted for use in our schools in Africa.

About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)

Basic Life Skills courses are one aspect of the work of our ALERT Education Centres.  The AEC operations at Livingstone (Zambia), Victoria Falls and Antelope Park (Zimbabwe) are all aimed at supporting the formal education system by offering extra-curricular activities to enhance student learning, and assisting with access to education for vulnerable students.  Current programs include the provision of classes in conservation education, basic life skills, and English literacy.  In addition, we provide funding to pay the fees of vulnerable students to take part in education from pre-school to university level, and fully funded internship and facilitated research placements for university level students.  Future programmes will incorporate classes in numeracy, health & nutrition, physical education and business studies/entrepreneurship, as well as a variety of vocational training.  The AEC is operated in association with Coventry University (UK), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) and Copperbelt University (Zambia), and with the assistance of David Brackstone of John Taylor High School (UK).   The first AEC, at Antelope Park, was opened in 2012 by the then Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Mr. David Coltart.

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