KHULISA MEDIA RELEASE
YOUTH NATIONWIDE TAKE A STAND ON DRUG AWARENESS DAY
On Thursday (26 June 2003) youth across the country will be taking to the streets, and converging on community centres, prisons and sports stadiums to spread their message on the dangers of drugs on International Day Against Drug Abuse.
Peer drug counselors working under the auspices of Khulisa, a non-governmental organisation at the forefront of innovative juvenile crime prevention, rehabilitation and development programmes, have taken it upon themselves to launch a national drugs offensive aimed at reversing figures* which estimate that one in three children will have experimented with drugs by the time they reach matric.
The drug aware youth, based in seven centers around the country, have been trained as peer drug counselors as part of Khulisa’s Make It Better (MIB) community development and youth leadership programme, which selects, trains and deploys youth leaders to run relevant development programmes in their communities. Between them, the MIB youth leaders have reached over 15 000 learners countrywide with their drug awareness presentations and dramas and have set up drug support groups in more than twenty schools, offering counseling, recreation and cultural activities.
To mark International Day Against Drug Abuse in Soweto, well-known rugby players from the Golden Lions Rugby Union will be hosting a rugby coaching clinic for more than 200 learners from 10 Meadowlands High Schools, encouraging them to choose sports and not drugs.
Former Springbok and popular sporting personality, Owen Nkumane, will be giving the learners a motivational talk and Lions rugby role-models Jaque Fourie, John Daniels, Jaco Booysen, Nel Fourie and Cobus Grobbelaar will conduct the rugby coaching clinic taking the boys through skills drills and a mini rugby tournament.
In Newcastle, in KwaZulu Natal, 22 newly-graduated peer drug counselors have organized an art workshop at the Madedeni Rehabilitation Centre, where they will join more than forty recovering addicts in making drug awareness posters out of recycled material.
Johannesburg Prison will be the venue for a drugs workshop involving offenders, MIB youth leaders and 23 children from Khulisa’s Diversions Programme, a non-custodial programme for first time child offenders diverted from the criminal justice system. The theme for the day will be “Lets talk about drugs!” and will give both the drug peer counselors and diversions children the opportunity to share their experiences, ask questions and talk openly about drugs.
To mark the drug awareness day in Potchefstroom, the local MIB athletics and cultural group will march from the local police station to the Ikageng stadium where drum majorettes and members of the cultural group will entertain the community.
About 150 members of drug support groups from five Katlehong schools have also arranged a “Walk against Drugs” and will march to the Katlehong Police Station Hall wearing anti-drugs t-shirts to create awareness of the dangers of drugs in the community.
In Ledig in North-West Province,16 MIB peer drug counsellors and 60 school learners will engage in group discussions on drugs and watch the drama “Andile’s Story”, by internationally acclaimed playwright, Peter Terry.