The theme for the fifth International Day of Education is “To Invest in People, Prioritise Education”.
According to Unesco, there are 771 million illiterate people and 244 million children and youth who are not in school.
It is outrageous that their right to an education is being infringed upon. The moment has come to restructure education.
Committing this year’s International Day to Afghan girls and women who are denied the opportunity to receive an education, Unesco demands that the ban denying them access to school be immediately lifted.
Doing their part in recognition of International Day of Education, pupils from various schools throughout the country exercised their agency to change the curricula and raise awareness of blood cancer.
DKMS Africa visited the South African Schools Debating Board (SASDB) championship, which was held by the University of Pretoria, to hear the opinions of the youth on becoming active citizens in the cause before lowering the age for registration as a blood stem cell donor to 17.
The five-day competition helped the Gauteng senior team pass a motion calling for the government to incorporate volunteer work with non-governmental organisation into life orientation courses.
Teams researched their topics and used critical thinking throughout the competition to make logical and convincing arguments for why the public should become involved in the fight against blood cancer and other medical issues.
They stressed that without providing inclusive and equitable quality education for all and lifetime opportunities for all, developing nations will not be able to achieve gender equality or escape the cycle of poverty.
In addition to comprehensive lessons on sexual education and job opportunities, it would be effective to include issues that influence underprivileged groups, they said.
Medical research has shown that younger donors are best for patients needing stem cells, and provide the greatest chance for transplant success. This simply means that younger people are healthier and stronger, and often patients do not relapse after transplant when they have a younger donor.
About 20% of South Africans are diagnosed with blood cancer daily, and often the only cure for these patients is a blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor.
The likelihood that a patient who is black, coloured, or Indian will discover a genetic match is exceedingly low because just 0.04% of the population is listed as a potential donor.
Speaking on behalf of DKMS Africa, communications manager Nabiella de Beer said that this experience has strengthened their mission to continue integrating their cause within schools nationally.
"While our country may have a small donor pool, the impact of education and youth engagement will play a huge role in growing the numbers and improving the chances of donor matches for blood cancer patients.”
Registering to be a stem cell donor is a safe and easy process. It all begins with a cheek swab to be analysed at the DKMS labs to determine your HLA (tissue) characteristics – “this is how we match donors and patients”, De Beer said.
Should you be a match, donating stem cells is a completely non-invasive and non-surgical procedure.
To register sign up at: https://www.dkms-africa.org/register-now.
For more information, contact DKMS Africa at 0800 12 10 82.