Dealing with Stress
April 27 2016

Our basic life skills course operates in, amongst other locations, the challenging environment of the Gweru Drop-In Centre.  The Centre exists with the aim of rehabilitating street children into mainstream society and education, and reunifying them with their families.  To compliment this programme, ALERT introduced a Basic Life Skills course to help positively mould the character of these young adults.

Recently, the course has focussed on dealing with stress, as part of the self-manager module.  Attendees started by thinking about what caused them stress; finding food, finding somewhere to bath and where and how to get money.  They were then encouraged to discuss what feelings are produced by stress e.g. anger, sadness, worry.  The discussion progressed on to what they thought they could do to overcome the stress they felt.  They concluded that planning ahead, whilst learning to keep calm, no matter the situation, was beneficial.

During the next lesson, the students focused on planning as a means to reduce stress.  Each pupil was asked to allocate a time to each activity, examples include; brushing teeth five minutes, bathing 10 minutes, going into town to beg three hours.  Students then had to prioritise each activity into “must do” and “flexible”. Under “must do “, students listed bathing and eating, whilst under “flexible”, their lists included playing soccer.

Pupils were advised that once the "must do" activities were completed, they should also engage activities they love, like playing soccer, as this helps to reduce stress.  They discussed that sometimes things do not go according to plan, and how they can try to not let such times or incidences stress them.

As a fun end to the lesson, a game of Hangman was played to remind students of some of the key words they had learned and used throughout the lessons in the self -manager module.  Some of the words used in the game were: organise, co-operative, hardworking, respectful, plan, motivated and helpful.

Overall, the success of the activities showed that the students understood the concept of being a good or bad self-manager and the ways of coping with stress.  We trust that going forward, the students will put all they have learnt into practice and become more motivated, organised and prepared self-managers.

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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