Saturday, 16 April 2016

YONECO Reaches out to Special Needs Learners with SRHR Information

By Jordan Tseka

YONECO in collaboration with Ntcheu District Social welfare Office organized a Sexual Reproductive Health Session for learners with special needs at Gumbo Primary School in Ntcheu district. The initiative came against the background that several studies have indicated that efforts by different actors in the process of disseminating HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive Health Rights and Information (SRHR) leave out young people with special needs. Most SRHR programmes only target students in general and this consequently
leaves learners with special needs behind and it is a nightmare for them access Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).

SRH information in that session was framed and delivered to meet the needs of the targeted audience and several methodologies were employed to make sure that all learners should easily comprehend and retain the information.

The session also provided a platform where the youth with special needs shared their experiences and challenges regarding SRH.

During the sessions, it came out clear that the youth with special needs greatly need SRH information and most of those who attended the session indicated that they do have sex. Furthermore, the learners also stated that the lack of comprehensive knowledge about sexual reproductive health has consequently led to school drop outs among many learners with special needs because of pregnancy.

A specialist teacher at the school commended YONECO and the Department of Social Welfare for organizing the sessions. The teacher explained that the sessions will enable the special needs learners to make correct and informed decisions on issues that concern their SRHR.

The teacher further explained that the session will go a long way in averting sexually transmitted infections, school dropouts and unwanted pregnancies among the youth with special needs. The teacher also highlighted that children with special needs are vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV, as well as unwanted pregnancies. The teacher indicated that this is the case mainly due to the fact other people take advantage of a particular disability as well as the limited knowledge of SRHR and turn them into sex objects.

Authorities at the school revealed stated that YONECO is the first Organisation to conduct a Sexual Reproductive Health session with learners with special needs.

Gumbu primary school has a total of 45 learners with special needs. Among the learners who attended the session were the deaf, dumb and blind.

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