On Thursday, 18 October 2012, SECTION27’s Nthabi Pooe and Lawyers Against Jessica Searle and Kay Mahonde headed off to Providence Academy in central Johannesburg to run a workshop on human rights for learners at the school.

The workshop started with matric learners and focused on aspects of sexual abuse and learners’ rights. From the reaction of learners it seems this information was informative and useful.

Sexual violence in schools remains a key concern and it was particularly important for learners to understand the processes in place and protection afforded by the law for victims of sexual violence. It was also important for us to highlight to learners the duty to report in order to protect their fellow learners.

The second part of the workshop focused on Grades 8 and 9 and was a bit harder to facilitate because it was a much bigger group. The final session of the workshop involved Grades 10 and 11 and while this was also a slighter bigger group, from the question and answer session it was clear that learners found the information useful.

From the questions asked by learners it was clear that learners find it hard to understand the value of having constitutionally protected human rights when there are so many human rights violations in the country not only by people but also the government. What was important about the workshop was to teach learners the value of these rights and institutions and measures of ensuring that these rights are realised.

SECTION27 contact details were provided so that learners can approach the organisation for any follow-up or to take up specific issues.