Counselling room officially opened at Joe Slovo Engineering School

Deputy principal Neliswa Tibini officially opened the mental health and wellbeing clinic at her school while Moses Piet from Chrysalis Academy looks on.

Joe Slovo Engineering School’s idea to have a counselling room for its pupils was just dream all these years, but now it is a reality which can help pupils deal with their psychological and social challenges.

This is thanks to the Community Keepers (CK) which noticed that many school going children needed help and decided to set up spaces at chosen schools.

Last Friday, it was Joe Slovo’s turn to officially launch its own safe space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal a renovated classroom, which has been divided into three spaces. The CK room has already been operating at the school for a year, first opening its doors last year in March.

One of the first things you notice when entering the Community Keepers (CK) counselling room at Joe Slovo Engineering School, are the bright colours, information and little toys covering the walls.

Delighted school deputy principal Neliswa Tibini described the social-emotional hub as a positive initiative that will help the school’s children who carry the burden of living in the townships.

Thanking the CK staff, she said what they did was appreciated. She said they acted on the education’s three pillars of a parent, teacher and child. “This will help with psycho-social issues at the school. I foresee the relationship we have as a long-term one. It will help our children to have self confidence. We hope that their academic results will improve,” she said.

The room is now readily available for pupils and teachers to talk more about their psycho-social challenges.

Area manager, Joané Geldenhuys said they offer psyco-social support through therapy for issues such as family problems, academic pressure, sexual abuse, peer pressure, drug abuse, rape, and gender-based abuse. She said their hope is to open more spaces in the province.

“But we are expanding. We moved from only Western Cape organisations. We saw the need in the schools that is why we have decided to open the spaces in the school, easily accessible to the learners and it’s a free service. The learners need someone that they can talk to. Psycho support can be an expensive service we are now bringing to the school. Pupils somebody who can talk to them,” she said.

She said the office will not take referrals from other schools.

Amahle Malangeni, a care-practitioner, said in the time they have been based at Joe Slovo they have had progress and have referred a few pupils for professional help.

She said her office is working hard to teach pupils ways to confront big issues that happen in their lives. She said young people need to normalise their feelings so as to be better citizens.

“I have noticed that we have a lot of cases on grief and some learners have attempted suicide. We also have a bit of sexual abuse but we have managed to deal with such cases and send the referrals out to social workers,” she said,

Community Keepers area manager, Joané Geldenhuys is happy that her organisation is expanding.
Joe Slovo Engineering School pupils are getting crucial assistance.