Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Onkabetse Peer Mentors

It is officially bragging time.

I love these kids.
First, let me explain how the group was formed.

A few months ago, I went into the classrooms at the highschool, and had the learners nominate a boy and girl from their class who they would feel comfortable going to if they had a problem. I told them they should choose people who they could trust, felt were good role models and were leaders in their community. Of the 60 or so learners who were nominated, 20 or so applied- and these 7 have emerged as the most committed and INCREDIBLE kids.


We have been doing life skills training every week, which includes lessons in communication skills, decision making, goal-setting and HIV education.

During the first few lessons, when we were focusing on HIV education, they got inspired. Something lit them up- perhaps it was the newly formed understanding of how the virus is transmitted, maybe it was the recognition of how it impacts their community- whatever the reason, they were motivated towards action. They wanted to do something; they wanted to teach their community about what they themselves had just learned.

So that brings us to this month and the next. We're putting on an HIV Awareness campaign at their high school. They will be going in pairs to facilitate the same sessions that I gave to them earlier this year. One will be on the Myths and Facts about HIV, and the other will be how the virus is transmitted, and how to protect themselves.
At the end of the two weeks that we will be going into the classrooms to give these sessions, we will be throwing a celebration event/testing drive.

These kids are doing the planning and the work.

After this campaign, we're looking to go into other schools to do similar sessions.

They're awesome.

Last weekend, we met to do a session. The session was about looking at complicated issues and critically evaluating them. We did a mock trial, where we simulated a court case about a man with HIV and his doctor.

(welcome to my court room)

In this mock trial, the doctor had tested a man for HIV, which came back positive. The doctor tried to convince the man to tell his girlfriends about his status, but the man refused. The doctor ended breaking his oath of confidentiality up telling the girlfriends.

(defense's first witness to the stand, please)

The Peer Mentors acted out this court case, taking on the roles of these characters, placing themselves in their shoes, and critically evaluating the situation.
With a bit of help from Gannon, we had them not only explore a complicated and profound subject, but they simulated a court proceeding. It was a critical thinking lesson, social issue exploration, and democratic education all in one.
They were fantastic.

The discussion that followed gave me a lot of faith in them as leaders of not only their community, but perhaps, one day, their country.

So, yeah, the point of this entry was the brag about how amazing these kids are, and I think I've done that pretty successfully.


US exporter said...


My only second thought with this is thinking about how their judicial system would work in actuality... I'm sure yours was fair and just hehe

Megan said...

my court is the fairest and justest in the world!

XOLANI V said...

WOW!I can still remember those days