On the 8th of February 2020, Africa Unite hosted a meeting for the 2019 Human Rights Peer Educators where 17 peers were in attendance. The meeting took place at Joie de vivre farmhouse in Klapmuts which is 50 kms outside of Cape Town.
The meeting started off with a reflection on the year 2019 in general and a feedback session on the activities each peer educator has carried out in 2019.
Amongst many topics discussed on the day, the following stood out to the peer educators:
• Change in Presidency with Jacob Zuma being replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa as president of the Republic of South Africa
• Elections disturbance with xenophobia
• The dramatic shift in climate has caused a plethora of catastrophes ranging from the cyclones off the coast of Mozambique and droughts in East Africa, causing a mass migration of refugees to South Africa
• The responsibility of politicians on Xenophobic attacks
• Gender-Based Violence
• The lack and need of Infrastructure especially with reference to rural communities
• Crime and violence in the Western Cape
• Education focusing on primary and secondary schools
• The rising and persistent Crime rates in Manenberg
• Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha need for the youth to be exposed to places outside their immediate areas in order to help change their mind-set to a more positive outlook in life
• Social grants undesirable usage in South Africa
• Township Interventions for social cohesion
• Economic and social development in the form of subsidies
• Social entrepreneurship grants and mentorship for the youth and dialogue for social cohesion
Following the discussion, 4 identified peer educators who have been highly active in the year 2019 gave presentations on the work and the intervention they have done throughout the year. They also highlighted the challenges they faced during their interventions.
Their interventions were mainly information sessions, marches, workshops and dialogues centred around common issues ailing their respective communities such as: (1) Gender Based Violence, (2) Human Rights Law (3) Protest for Policy Change (4) Rights of Migrant/Refugee Children, (5) Dynamite Castle Foundation on assisting learners build their self-confidence and self-esteem, (6) march to spread awareness on gang-violence, (7) Tutoring learners English, (8) Mentoring fatherless children etc.
Through their community work and dedication, the peer educators received awards and opportunities outside of Africa Unite and below are some of the highlighted rewards/opportunities they have received:
- One of the peer educators received an award of “Fight for Peace” for her commitment to peace building in 2019.
- Another had an opportunity to travel to Mozambique to take part in a climate change research project
• He also attended the xenophobic attack forum in the South African National Parliament
• Received an internship placement in Slovakia for a 12-month human rights programme.
One of the peers had an opportunity to travel to Botswana and worked with women/children focusing on the law and their human rights
To close the day, the Best Peer Educator of the year 2019 (Mr. Avuzwa Ngubo) was announced for his outstanding work and dedication throughout the year. He received a certificate and R1000 voucher as a token of appreciation. Besides sharing of experiences, challenges and learning from each other, the aim of the meeting and selecting the best peer educator was to inspire and motivate those that are less active to do more work in their communities in the years to come so that we can collectively achieve the objective of the programme.
The peer educators were left encouraged and more than ready to go back to their communities and intervene on the issues facing them on a daily basis. They commented that the meeting was fruitful and it has sparked new ideas that they will use in their respective communities when they run workshops, information sessions and dialogues.
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