Adopt-a-School Foundation is committed to addressing the social challenges preventing learners from accessing and fully utilizing the opportunities available through basic education. In recent years, South Africa has experienced an alarming rise in teenage pregnancy, coupled with an already high level of teenage STI transmissions, HIV/Aids infection rates and female learner dropout due to issues around menstruation.

In April this year Adopt-a-School, in partnership Dr Tsepho Motsepe, launched its Health, Sanitation and Sexual Education Programme at Ndukwenhle High School in Umlazi. This programme has been designed in consultation with the DBE and DoH and aims to complement their joint Integrated School Health Policy.

Adopt-a-School Foundation has been working closely with local community clinics and the broader school community to ensure that learners can access available resources and emotional support during their puberty years.

This new pilot programme, which is funded by supporters of Adopt-a-School Foundation, was developed to address the urgent need to focus on the challenges faced by high school learners in their puberty years. It also aims to educate and empower youth in South Africa to take responsibility to curb teenage pregnancy.

Since its launch in April, this launch has been rolled out to 19 other secondary schools, from various rural and township communities throughout South Africa. Already over 11 thousand learners have been impacted. Through this programme comprehensive workshops are carried out with female and male high school learners on topics such as: physical changes, development of sexual feelings and how to respond to them, personal and environmental hygiene, menstruation, circumcision, contraception, prevention of pregnancy, STIs and HIV/AIDs. In addition to various educational materials that have been distributed, over 13 thousand sanitary pads have been donated.

“The well-known statistics require that we all take urgent action to enable our children and youth to have positive experiences whilst growing-up. Meaningful interventions, such as the Health, Sanitation and Sexual Education Programme, would have far-reaching benefits in the lives of our future citizens,” says Dr Tshepo Motsepe who is the programme ambassador.

The health and well-being of learners is an integral part of Adopt-a-School Foundation’s Whole School Development (WSD) model, which seeks to address school infrastructure development, curriculum and co-curricular needs, leadership and governance and social welfare in the school environment.