Pionier Boys march against drug, alcohol abuse

By Maria Hamutenya

YOUNG boys from the Pionier Boys School, in collaboration with LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia, held a demonstration against alcohol and substance abuse on recently, under the slogan, ‘Choose sober fun over drugs and alcohol’.

A committee including a group pf learners from the boys’ school and members of LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia had been hard at work for over two weeks to prepare for the march after some students expressed concern over the growing problem of drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia is a registered welfare organisation, whose aim is to create ‘safer, healthier, more resilient children, families and communities’.

The march was organised as a way to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and drug abuse, especially to school-aged children and saw learners toyi-toy and chant slogans, such as: ‘Down with alcohol and drug abuse’.

There are many reasons people can fall into the trap of drug abuse and alcohol addiction. Some try it at first for fun, out of curiosity, to feel part of a group, to forget a difficult situation or to smother their feelings, but the consequences for many are irreversible.

LifeLine/ChildLine coordinator Lesheni Hakandonga along with two other councillors Shamyn Louw and Berinitha Muleke took time to counsel some boys who had fallen prey to substance abuse or were at risk of doing so.

Muleke said most learners they dealt with started using drugs due to the pressure of trying to fit in with peer groups. “Some cultures have normalised substance abuse to the point that young children start to do all these wrongdoings at a young age, because they know the elders won’t mind if they try just a bit,” Muleke stressed.

Drug and alcohol abuse can have detrimental effects on young people’s mental health, as well as their overall physical, emotional and social development. It affects one’s ability to make good decisions and to think clearly, and response to different situations, it was noted.

The learners conveyed their message against alcohol and substance abuse through song, dance, poems and drama that strongly linked alcohol abuse to Gender Based Violence (GBV). The school also held a slogan contest and the posters that best portrayed the message won prizes.

One of the event organisers, Louis Boois, said he hoped that the learners had taken something away from the demonstration and performances. “The message portrayed is really deep and I know that someone from the crowd definitely took it to heart and will hopefully listen to what was said.”

116 Helpline for children

Child HelpLine is a service set up especially to help children. SMS or call to 116. Any child anywhere in Namibia can call or SMS 116 if they need help. It is FREE from landlines, payphones and cellphones (MTC and TN Mobile). You can call or SMS between 08h00 and 20h00 every day.

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