One of OM South Africa’s newest ministries focuses on breaking the cycle of ignorance towards abusive behaviour and abuse-related issues.
Behind the spoken knowledge from the front of the classroom are the unspoken experiences many students in South Africa go through. These experiences, often abusive, remain untold as students stay blind to the truth of what they have gone through.
Being aware of this, one of OM South Africa’s newest ministries focuses on breaking the cycle of ignorance towards abusive behaviour and abuse-related issues. Every week the Empowered Generation team goes to schools and educates students on subjects such as what abuse is, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking. They aim to help the youth realise that they can protect themselves by saying “NO” to any form of abuse.
Recently in Mamelodi, a township outside of Pretoria, South Africa, the team visited a school where the grade 7 teacher applauded the work the OM team is doing. “They have made awareness for our learners to speak out,” said the teacher.
Since the Empowered Generation programme started, her eyes have been opened to see the damage caused by abuse she previously did not recognise. The teacher went on to explain how they had had to deal with different incidents of abusive situations at the school. "There was an incident where a grade 2 learner was sexually abused by a tuck shop owner. The child would go out during breaks and go to tuck shop off the school premises. And the man from the tuck shop would sexually abuse the learner during breaks at the back of the counter by enticing her with goodies like bread and sweets. After investigations the case was reported to the police and the child protection unit took over the case,” the teacher said.
The school has realised the importance of teaching their classes what different forms of abuse looks like and encouraging their students to speak out by making the school a safe place to talk.
The Empowered Generation team has seen change at the school. In the beginning teachers were very concerned about giving their LO (Life Orientation) classes over to the OM team. Now they value the lessons because they can see the growth and development in the children. They’ve seen the children learn that God can help them make better choices in order to live a life of freedom, purpose and of real value.
In the future, Empowered Generation leadership hopes to see more children speak out and educated about forms of abuse. “We would love to see the programme going into all the public schools across South Africa. To see all the OM regions taking ownership and training people to go into the schools,” said Heather Anandlal, Empowered Generation Team Leader.