The Durban University of Technology’s Department of Student Counseling and Health hosted their Peer Educators Award ceremony yesterday (October 18, 2012) where the University’s Peer Educators were honoured for their immense and selfless contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The ceremony is a token of appreciation and encouragement to students who have shown commitment in their work as Peer Educators. A total of 28 Peer Educators who had completed their second year in the Programme received certificates. Of these, 20 were awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation while eight were given the Award of Excellent Commitment to the Programme.
Yesterday’s ceremony was rich in words of encouragements directed to the peer educators for their commitment to the programme and to the students they serve.
In his opening remarks, DUT Health Promoter and HIV\AIDS Activist Oziel Mdletshe said the work of Peer Educators often goes unnoticed, however adding that they (Peer Educators) should always know that they are special and that they play an invaluable role at the University.
Zolile Hlongwane, a DUT student who has been on the peer education course for the past two years, shared his experience as a Peer Educator with the guests.
Along with his colleagues, Hlongwane performed a short monologue about some of the problems they encounter on a daily basis. The problems vary from young girls who have “sugar daddies”, sexuality and trust issues in relationships, to name but a few. Hlongwane said his experience has helped educate him about many issues, adding that he now understands what DUT Vice- Chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa means when he says “you live in learning”.
The guest speaker at the ceremony, Mkhonzeni Gumede Director of DramaidE, a non-profit organisation that uses drama to critically engage young people to communicate effectively about issues about sex, sexuality and HIV/AIDS which also works closely with DUT congratulated the group for its work.
He emphasised the need to train more people to be Peer Educators, however adding that peer education programmes have highlighted HIV/AIDS but neglected family planning, dual protection and other problems faced by students.
Gumede urged Peer Educators to practice what they preach and be role models to other studentss.
Pictured: DUT Health Promoter and HIV/AIDS Activist Oziel Mdletshe with the 2012 Peer Educators who were honoured last night.