On Tuesday, 11 October 2016, the Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) under the United Nations Population Fund commemorated International Day of the Girl Child at Bhekathina High School, in Estcourt Ntabamhlophe under uThukela District.
The aim of the commemoration was to create awareness of the many challenges facing young girls both locally and abroad, and to highlight the fact that girls matter and must be counted to ensure progress. The celebration was led by the UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel in collaboration UNFPA KZN Sub-Office, the Uthukela Department of Education and local district partners. The programme included lively dialogues between the learners and YAP members on “Elimination of blessers”, Impact of teenage pregnancy, “Drug and alcohol abuse” with live testimonies and information from YAP members aimed at promoting positive sexual and reproductive health and gender equality.
The celebration was not just serious talks, but also balanced with entertainment, which included a Zulu dance performance by the learners, songs from the Bhekathina School Choir, poetry and dance competition. The entertainment also carried messages that being young is beautiful and fun, let girls be girls and we all have a role to play (Government, NGOs, local leadership and the community) to ensure that girls reach their full potential.
The commemoration ended with a committment from the Uthukela Department of Education and the local partners and leadership to promote the young girls agenda and with great appreciation to UNFPA and its YAP members, for showing that the girls at Bhekathina High School (a remote rural area) does count.