BRIGHTER DAY INITIATIVE
The Brighter Day Hope Foundation is a psychosocial support and holistic education development organisation that has been operating in partnership with Standard Bank. It was endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in November 2021.
As part of the Brighter Day Initiative, psychosocial support services were rolled out in collaboration with Standard Bank to the following regions: Karas, Hardap, Erongo, Kunene, Otjozondjupa, Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi. More than 50 schools were visited and engaged with, addressing roughly 20,000 students and around 300 teaching and support staff.
The initiative to address the post-COVID implications in schools, and involving students and teachers, is a well-timed engagement in communities that are still reeling from the devastating impact of COVID-19. The program’s objectives established that there is an acute need for interventions to address psychosocial well-being among a myriad of issues affecting both teachers and students. Psychosocial support builds internal and external resources for children and their families to cope with adversity.
The aim was to initiate conversations with students as well as teachers in a safe environment to talk about topics and issues that most people are not comfortable talking about or do not know how to talk about. Engagement with the target audience is done with the intent of creating an understanding where behaviour seeking help and health is to be normalised. Engagement takes the form of various facilitation sessions and presentations, focusing on:
- The process of bereavement and counselling
- Coping strategies: managing anxiety and stress
- Holistic well-being in dealing with academic pressure –strategies to manage workload and time
- Workplace adjustments for teachers and support staff
- Substance use and mental health awareness
- Teenage pregnancy
- Suicide prevention
CAREER COUNSELLING AND GUIDANCE
Parallel to the initial focus of the Brighter Day initiative the aim was to engage on a paired platform. Career Avenue is designed to assist students in making informed educational and occupational choices and implementing them. We have developed a framework for guidance services that will develop student’s competencies in:
- Career related fields
- Self-knowledge and aptitude assessment
- Educational and occupational exploration
- Career guidance and university applications
- Career planning
The underlying idea is that exposure to and awareness of the different education and career paths will help students make informed decisions about their future. The working definition for career guidance refers to the advice and information about careers that help individuals, in particular young people, to decide on a career and teach them how to pursue their chosen career.
Currently interviews are conducted with professionals in several occupational fields, with an emphasis on diversity. The focus is on career prospects and on aiming to explain the various professions from the perspective of those active in those fields. Faculty members in tertiary institutions and vocational centres will be interviewed to outline the realities of studying and the necessary transition from high school methods of learning to tertiary tuition and instruction.
The power of visual exposure is acknowledged and thus a series of videos will be made available:
- Interviews with professionals in their areas of work and at work; answering key or frequently asked questions
- Interviews with students enrolled at universities colleges, and vocational centres
- Interviews with lecturers, professors and instructors
- Virtual tours of selected institutions
- Information on bursary schemes, sponsorships and grants
The focus is not only on academic qualification, but career options in sports and entertainment are strongly featured as well.