LIMPOPO – To curb the spread of sexual infections and the high rate of teen pregnancies in rural villages in Vhembe district, 23-year-old student Avhasei Raphalalani is teaching young people about sex and hygiene.
Raphalalani, who is studying at the University of Venda, established the organisation Stop the Spot when she realised that most parents are not open to discussing these topics with their children.
“Rural parents do not feel free to talk to us about sexual issues and we often end up falling victims to sex because there is no one to talk to, which is why we established the organisation, she said.
Stop the Spot has more than 200 members and provides a platform for experts to chat to young people about how to protect themselves from diseases such as HIV and cervical cancer and, says Raphalalani, “how to keep our health excellent at all times”.
“Young people are faced with several challenges which often hinder us from achieving our goals and becoming better versions of ourselves. Through Stop the Spot we can help each other through seminars. We sit together and guide each other on how to overcome certain issues,” Raphalalani said. The main objectives of the organisation are to eradicate social, educational and cultural challenges faced by rural youth and to fight the ongoing abuse against women and children in society.
Growing up in Tshipako village, outside Thohoyandou, Raphalalani saw that most of her friends couldn’t afford sanitary towels and used old newspapers during their periods, exposing them to health risks.
“We also collect sanitary towels for rural school girls who cannot afford them. Hygiene during menstruation is very important and we do not want them to end up with health issues,” she said. – Health-e News.
An edited version of this story was published by Health24.