More than 100 grade 4-7 learners from all regions of the City of Johannesburg have successfully completed a five-day annual life skills programme conducted by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s Public Safety Community Outreach Unit.
The programme, which is held annually, is in line with the City’s Safety Strategy and covers a wide range of topics, including bullying, water safety, fire safety, knowledge about animals and home safety. This year the programme was conducted from October 1-5 at the JMPD Academy in Booysens.
The JMPD Academy Director Elgina Ndhlovu said the programme was an overwhelming success. “In September we wrote to schools asking them to send their pupils to attend the programme. Only 60 pupils responded. But a day or two after we started, we saw the numbers increasing. By midweek, we counted a total of 106 pupils. We were not surprised by the increasing numbers because children boast to their peers about new discoveries in their lives,” said Ndhlovu.
Ndhlovu said the academy did not even think of turning the extra pupils away because the aim was to get as many children as possible to learn life skills. The pupils – some of them as young eight – demonstrated their newly acquired safety skills during a function held to honour them at the academy on Friday, October 5.
“The overwhelming response from the safety programme has prompted the JMPD to have an additional programme during the March school holidays next year,” she said.
Twelve-year-old Nana Njoku of Milpark Primary School said: “The week I spent here was an eye-opener because I learned about a lot of things. I was particularly touched by the lessons on drug abuse.”
Khudiso Mafakwane (8) of Cosmo City Primary School said he was scared to see so many young people doing time at the Walter Sisulu Youth Centre. “I wouldn’t want to see myself going there, no matter what,” he said.
Another pupil, Jason Banda, said he was exceedingly impressed by lessons on water and fire safety. “Now, I know that I have to crawl when there’s smoke. I really enjoyed the lessons,” said Banda.
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