School embarks on edutainment sessions to protect vulnerable pupils

By Yolanda Moyo

A Bulawayo school has embarked on an edutainment initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and sex parties.

The City of Bulawayo has been marred by drug and alcohol sex marathons popularly known as Vuzu parties, with teenagers oblivious of the dangers associated with the risky excursions.

The girl child is the most affected as some have dropped out of school due to unwanted pregnancies.

As a way of ensuring the girl child remains in school and aware of the dangers at hand, a local school has introduced edutainment and life skills sessions.

“We came up with this idea that every first Friday of the month there are Vuzu parties taken in the city, we have decided to have a function, like today’s function we have form ones and this is an HIV awareness event too,” said an Eveline High School teacher.

“What happens when they finish and do not do well in school, what do they do next. we are trying to remove girls from the street, give them a skill, give them confidence and teach them that they are loved and important and can be drivers of economic change,” said Tafadzwa Zimbudzani from Next Generation Consultancy.

The edutainment sessions, which are open for other schools, are also meant to drum up support for vulnerable girls in the school, with sanitary wear and stationery being used as a gate pass.

“We are here as a brother school to help support the vulnerable girl child with essential things she needs in her life such as sanitary ware.
Gone are days when it was taboo for boys to be seen carrying sanitary wear, we are here to show people that girls need us to support them, sometimes you find a girl missing from school because she doesn’t have sanitary ware, but if boys donate to vulnerable girls we will all be able to keep the girls in school every day,” said one pupil.

“During these sessions, girls are taken through different educations sessions as we try to keep girls in school as a number of them are pushed into prostitution, teenage pregnancies. Issues that affect them are also discussed during these sessions, and through this, the school has managed to help students who then come up privately who are being abused with psycho-social support to help them cope.”

The government has introduced several policies to ensure young girls remain in school and foster gender equity, with pregnant girls being allowed to attend lessons.