A project supported by SOHK for Schools programme
In South Africa, young people from disadvantaged areas are often exposed to traumatic incidents in childhood. They often witness or participate in crimes and gang-related activities or are victims of family violence. This situation has continued to worsen during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to a survey carried out in 2020 by the SOHK programme, 24% of young people have been physically injured by a family member, 46% have witnessed violent crimes and 46% have suffered multiple traumas in the past six months. Only 6% have had access to public social or mental health services (86% of the country’s psychologists work in the private sector).
SOHK tries to provide care and support solutions for young people in difficulty, in partnership with four state schools in the target areas and with international NGOs such as Laureus Sport for Good. The goal is to enhance the well-being and physical and mental health of young people in disadvantaged communities.
The programme focuses on children who exhibit aggressive or withdrawn behaviour linked to exposure to one or more traumatic events during their childhood. These children are identified by their schools, but their participation in the programme is not imposed on them; instead, they themselves apply by completing and submitting a form.
- Provide access to mental health services for hard-to-reach young people in underserved communities in Cape Town
- Promote gender equality to prevent violence against women and change the cultural and social norms that support violence
- Encourage young people to take up physical activity and keep them in school in the best possible conditions
- Develop responsible behaviour in young people to discourage involvement in crime and the use of illegal substances
- Stage one: individual mentoring sessions focusing on young people’s mental health and physiology, as well as on the external pressures that may be influencing their behaviour
- Stage two: rugby initiation and training sessions and organising tournaments in the state schools involved
- Stage three: caring and helping, with an emphasis on exchanges, discussions between participants and mentors, and basic skills transfer
- 200 children (50% girls and 50% boys) aged 13 to 18 who are exposed to violence on a daily basis and risk being excluded from school, have benefited directly from the programme, with increased self-confidence, reduced stress and anxiety, improvements in their ability to cope with life’s challenges, etc.
- More than 300 families have benefited indirectly from the programme
- More than 15 teachers/coaches have been recruited and trained in SOHK’s methods