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 on-going efforts to get to know the street children better, small informal discussion groups have been introduced to the Basic Life Skills course, making students more comfortable to open up about personal issues. During these sessions, the children have been talking about the causes of stress in their lives, such as being without a family support system, not having shelter or a place to call home, and feeling that there are no opportunities for them. As stress management was covered earlier in the course, students have been encouraged to find ways in which they can try to take control of their stress. Some stated that they have started to exercise more, while others are now more likely to share their problems with close friends and volunteers at the Drop-in Centre.
Getting to know each child as an individual; understanding where they have come from and why they left home, will help us to identify the best way to assist them in getting off the streets and, if appropriate, reunified with their families. This is an ongoing process, but one we feel we are making progress with.
The Drop-in Centre also caters for young mothers and their babies living on the streets. Two of the mothers recently said that they would like to start their own income generating projects. Each received a $20 donation to purchase stock (confectionery and snacks) to sell on the street. Motivating them to work for themselves will boost their self-esteem and help them regain their dignity.
About the Basic Life Skills Course
The aim of the Basic Life Skills 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.
Join us at the AEC
There are a number of ways you can join our AEC projects to assist in the delivery of the AECs various programmes. Click on the following links for further information:
- Those with some teaching experience can join our Teaching in Africa internship
- Researchers interested in assisting us assess AEC programmes can join our Research in the Community Internship
- If your interest is in teaching about conservation, you can also join the programme as a Conservation Education Intern
- Even if you have no teaching experience, there is still much you can do to help deliver our various courses as part of our volunteer programmes
Support the AEC
If you would like to support the activities of our AEC operations please click here.