Armed with black bags and hospital-issue gloves, teams from various local organisations dedicated an hour of their day to tidying Zithulele Village ahead of World Clean Up Day on Friday 14 September.
The Clean Up followed on from a 3-week environmental campaign driven by learners from Zithu-dlala aftercare programme, which is run by Ayanda Parafini of the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation.
Focussed on recycling, the campaign drew on movies and experiential exercises to build children’s knowledge about the environment in 3 phases. “At first they didn’t understand what is recycling and how does it work,” Ayanda said.
In the first phase, they learnt how pollution affects our oceans and participated in a weekend beach day. It was a chance to clear litter from Lubanzi beach and explore rock pools in search of marine life with Axium Biology teacher Sarah. Ayanda felt this made their understanding more real. “They’ve never done that. It was their first experience,” she said.
Phase 2 saw the children visiting Malibongwe at the Recycling Centre to find out how it works and help with a big street clean up.
Finally, learners explored the beauty of up-cycling by reusing recyclable waste to make outfits for a fashion show held during the World Clean Up day event. Parading through town accompanied by Ward Councillor Sithembiso Sicengu and his loud hailer, they created awareness that trash can actually be treasure.
Turnout at all the events was bigger than expected, leaving Ayanda feeling positive about the success. “I think they’ve enjoyed it and I think our numbers have increased a little bit because of the campaign and the activities we’ve been doing. It’s engaged other kiddies who were not interested in the library,” she said.
World Cleanup Day was the culmination of the campaign, but Ayanda says, “It continues as we are living. They know now. They know what do to about their waste, they know where the Recycling Centre is, you see, so that will be their everyday life. It didn’t stop on Friday.”