Qrate brings Eduliftment to Tswelopele Secondary School!

Qrate brings Eduliftment to Tswelopele Secondary School!

Hello Qraters!

On the 29th of July in support of Discovery, Qrate was tasked with providing another Menstruation workshop to the girls of Tswelopele Secondary School. With the aim of ending period poverty the Discovery Health Period Positivity initiative headed up by the Functional Enablement & Central Services Team, Discovery donated period products to Tswelopele Secondary School. This donation will ensure that periods will not be an obstacle to school girls’ life.

The Senior Girls after the Qrate Menstruation Workshop

Our facilitators (Candice, Felicia, and Slu) had two sessions on the day. The first session occurred in the morning with 360 girls from Grade 8s and Grade 9s. The juniors engaged really well with the content and asked a lot of questions about different period products. The facilitators were amazed to learn just how excited and confident the juniors were about periods.

Morning Session with the Junior Girls

In the second afternoon session, which had 500 learners, the facilitators taught the girls about various period products and most importantly made the seniors take a period pledge. This session contained a LARGE group of girls who were excited to learn more about periods and the various period products that existed.

Facilitator Felicia explained the reproductive system to the girls

Out of the tasks, we asked five girls from both sessions to present period products, and the top presenter received a copy of Flow: The Book About Menstruation co-written by our Founder and Director, Candice Chirwa. The other girls received a menstrual cup from Mina Cups!

Qrate and Discovery Team

We are happy to have worked with Discovery and Mina Cups. Collaboration is key in providing a holistic solution to ending period poverty. If your corporate would like to host a CSI initiative focused on period education, please send an email to info@qrate.org.za!

Youth Power

Youth Power

By Raeesah Noor-Mahomed

change - gbv

There is no experience that can be equated to standing in a crowd, screaming at the top of your lungs and collectively marching for a cause. United in anger at the injustice you are facing. Calling for a change.

Womxn have faced oppression from men for hundreds of years. We have been shut down and silenced for so long. But we have had enough. Womxn all over South Africa have taken a stand against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Womxn have organized protests and shutdowns. Womxn are fighting against the system of oppression. Womxn are revolutionary.

We have a voice. And we are going to use it.

I am a 17-year-old female. The world is a scary place for women and marginalized groups and South Africa’s GBV rate is four times more than the global rate. We, as the youth of South Africa, have decided that we are not going to sit down and watch our sisters get killed. We decided to take a stand.

The morning after Uyinene’s body was discovered my history class had a discussion. We all voiced our anger at the way womxn have been treated and the extreme sorrow we felt over the loss of life. We could all feel the much heavier weight behind this case. Because we have lost so many womxn because of men. And we are tired.

“So, girls, we know this has been happening for too long,” my history teacher said, “but the question is: are we going to sit back and watch this happen? Or are we going to protest?”

change - girl power

Word of the protest got around fast. The next day almost the whole school was on our school’s entrance at break for the protest. We sat with tape over our mouths and listened to girls poetry and speeches and heard their heartbreak. The choir sang. And we all sang along.

change - school protest
GBV School Protest

“The tears wouldn’t stop flowing.”

The protest lasted for three days. For three days girls held each other and cried. Strangers held strangers. Girls shared their stories and anger at the injustice we have faced. It was like a mass funeral and we grieved for every single womxn that we’ve lost. We supported each other. We were unified. And we were so powerful. I have never felt anything like that amount of power and unity in my life.

change - protest
GBV Protest in Sandton | Photo Credit: Ammaarah Cachalia

And young womxn all over the country did this. They used their voices and shared their anger. And we listened. We took a stand. We led a revolution. It is so important to speak up against injustice, especially in youth spaces. We were born into a world of chaos and we are the ones that are changing it. Listening to the youth take a stand against GBV and being part of the movement is so empowering.

change - empower

As a young person, it is so frustrating to watch as “people in charge” do nothing to solve the problem. It is so frustrating to see them ignore the issues that are in plain sight. The youth are frustrated and tired and we have decided that if the adults won’t spark a change, we will take matters into our own hands.

GBV protest
GBV Protest | Photo Credit: Mara Mbele (@mvrv_m)

It is important to have these discussions amongst the youth because we are fighting for our future and our world. We have to talk to each other and support each other and unite to spark a change. I have felt the power the youth hold as I marched with them and called for a change in one big mass of unity. 

I have felt the strength we have as a collective. 

And it felt good.

change

Raeesah Noor-Mahomed

(QRATE Social Media Intern & Gender & Climate Change Activist) 

Critical Thinking 4 Kids

South Africa is a country that has a rich and diverse history which influences the social and political contemporary issues that are deeply contested today. Despite these challenges, we have a total population of 55.6 million people, 36.2% of which are young people. However, the youth face the great burden of lacking critical engagement skill with socio-political issues that affect them.

Through a series of blog posts, Qrate will discuss and tackle various social issues that as an organization believes that children should be open-minded towards and willing to hold discussions amongst their peers, teachers, and parents. These blog posts will be helpful for parents, guardians, and teachers to engage in discussions with the youth of today.

Our first blog post is centered on understanding the importance of critical thinkers for young children.

What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking consists of different skills that help us learn to make decisions. It is the ability to evaluate information to determine whether it is right or wrong.

To think critically about an issue or a problem means to be open-minded and consider alternative ways of looking at situations.

Critical thinking has become a buzzword thrown about in educational and economic discourse with few doubting its importance.

“Critical thinking is the ability to ask difficult questions in the right way at the right time. It It is a willingness to challenge prevailing assumptions whilst acknowledging the limits of your knowledge. It is a desire to know and a lifelong passion for learning.”

The first myth about critical thinking is the claim that we measure a learner’s critical thinking ability. Teachers are, understandably concerned with justifying the curriculum and the percentage progress typically serves this purpose. If schools are to teach students how to think critically, creatively and independently, we need to rethink how we conceptualize scholastic achievement.

The second myth is about the methods of questioning. Too often I have heard phrases like “question everything” linked with critical thinking. A willingness to question one’s certainties is a key component of rational investigation, but it is the way we ask questions that make the difference.

A critical thinker asks questions that are relevant to the matter at hand and knows how to make sound judgments about the information they receive. They also know when they do not have enough information to make an informed decision.

To be good at thinking, children must believe that thinking is fun and want to be good at it. Parents, guardians, and teachers have the power to make that happen.

In teaching children to think critically, we’re doing them not only a favor but the highest service. Children throughout their lives will be expected to go through a lot of information and using that information – they will have to make choices.

And schools are not the only sole source of knowledge!

In the ever-changing world of technology and easier access to information – it is crucial that children are equipped with the right skills to analyze information.

If critical thinking nurtures a lifelong passion for learning, then we teach children to love thinking for its own sake. Learning becomes its own reward. Passionate learners contribute to a productive classroom and may offer a way to engage those who would otherwise fall behind.

The ability to analyze critically the information we encounter, to put it into its appropriate context and extract insights without falling into prejudice is the antidote. 

A society that thinks is infinitely harder to fool than one that can’t or won’t.

How can you get children to be critical thinkers? 

Critical thinking is a way of asking questions to help a child find answers themselves, rather than answering them for them. It’s about providing a safe place and giving the opportunity for your child to respond without judgment or interruption.

At QRATE, we developed handy tips for helping children learn to think better. Teach these to your children and then interact with them in ways that reinforce these standards.

  1. Be CLEAR. Invite children to be clear by asking for explanations and examples when they don’t understand something. Let children know it is okay to be confused and ask questions. 
  2. Be ACCURATE. Urge kids to be accurate to check to see if something is true by researching the facts. 
  3. Be RELEVANT. Encourage children to be relevant by discussing other topics that are important to the discussion or problem at hand. Help them stay on track by linking related and meaningful information to the question they are trying to answer or the topic they are learning about. 
  4. Be LOGICAL. Help them see how things fit together. Question how they came to their conclusions and whether their assumptions are correct. 
  5. Be FAIR. Set expectations that your child be fair. Promote empathy in their thinking processes. Make sure that they are considerate of others when drawing conclusions. 

By Candice Chirwa & Josh Nel

Here’s to raising a generation of critical thinkers! 

Candice Chirwa is a Masters of Arts International Relations student at the University of Witwatersrand. She is the Founder and Director of Qrate. In her spare time, Candice loves tutoring her High School and University students as well as drinking coffee (lots of it). 

Josh Nel is a Masters of Arts Philosophy student at the University of Witwatersrand. In his spare time, Josh loves reading political philosophy books.