Barbara Dourley just finished her 6-month Sustainable Cities internship posting in Durban, South Africa. Her work focused on the green economy. Thanks, Barbara!
At Amaoti 3 Combined School, grade 7, 8 and 9 learners are benefiting from a new after-school recreation programme. Indlela, a non-profit organization based in Durban North, established recreational activities at the school in January 2011 as part of their “Learning for Life” initiative. The recreation for the girls’ portion of the project is funded by the Imagine Durban Demonstration Fund, which is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through a partnership with Sustainable Cities International.
Since the programme began, learners at the school have had the opportunity to participate in activities after school including netball, aerobics and “talk” sessions where learners discuss and debate topics that they select. The learners are divided into three groups for the girls and three for the boys, and the groups rotate between the three activities, with learners participating in a different activity each week. The groups consist of a mix of learners from the different grades. The reason for combining the different age groups is to encourage the older learners to take on a mentorship role and look out for the younger learners.
The recreation programme aims to provide the girls at the school, in particular, with the opportunity to take up recreational activities. For many of the girls, this is the first time that they are experiencing an organized recreational activity just for them. After-school recreation, such as pick-up soccer, is usually reserved for the boys and there are few opportunities for the girl learners to relax and express themselves creatively. The programme seeks to provide the opportunity for recreation and help the girls realize that they are also entitled to partake in activities just for fun.
Indlela has been working at Amaoti 3 Combined School since 2005. They run a “Learning for Life Programme” that addresses HIV/AIDs as well as a literacy programme. The recreation programme was spearheaded in 2011, following the introduction of a Girls’ and a Boys’ Club at the school. Through the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, the learners were asked to participate in the selection and planning of activities that they wanted to see at the school. Recreation was identified as an activity that was highly desired by the learners and so Indlela pursued the establishment of a recreation programme.
Teachers at the school are starting to recognize the importance of recreation for the learners, and some are already involved in helping to coach aerobics, netball, soccer and volleyball. The objective is to increase the number of teachers involved in the Girls’ and Boys’ Clubs in the future and work to ensure that recreational activities become an institutionalized component of the school’s curriculum.