The OTher Symposium

Student Projects

UKZN Women Combine to Help Young Folk

Mar 27, 2017student-project-1

The women behind a community engagement project (from left): Ms Nontuthuko Sibiya; Ms Relebohile Lekoetje; Ms Londiwe Masikane and Ms Juwairiyya Paruk.

A group of UKZN’s College of Health Sciences fourth year Occupational Therapy students are running a youth focused community engagement project called, “Girls on Fleek!”

Directed by Mariannridge High School Grade 8 and Grade 9 female learners, the project focuses on issues currently facing the youth and how they affect their health and well-being.

The programme is specifically focused on four major topics; self-confidence, assertiveness, interpersonal relationships and sexual education.

Ms Londiwe Masikane said the topics target the root of concern areas identified to enable a person to think beyond what they are taught. ‘They need to be confident in their thoughts, and believe in possibility.’

The project also aims to reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancy and substance abuse which are prevalent in this community.

The team, comprising Masikane, Ms Juwairiyya Paruk, Ms Nontuthuko Sibiya and Ms Relebohile Lekoetje explores the topics in depth together with the learners in order to prevent them from being involved in such behaviours and situations.

The group holds talks during Life Orientation (LO) periods – a slot given to them Monday to Friday by the school’s LO teacher.

‘Our concern as a society is our youth, because of the manner in which they are “taught” to think. Our youth are constantly bombarded and influenced by the contents provided by the media. This influence is profound due to the accessibility to technological devices. Our youth are influenced by adults that surround them, their behaviour, and their life choices,’ Sibiya said.

According to the group, the project challenges the manner in which the youth think. ‘By presenting information to them, hopefully it will alter the contents of their thoughts,’ said Paruk. ‘We all deserve to think beyond what we deem possible!’ said Lekoetje.

Nombuso Dlamini

OTher Symposium Logo Competition

In 2016, staff and students at UKZN-Westville took part in the OTher Symposium’s logo competition. The winner will receive 20% off the symposium’s fee in 2018.

Congratulations to Juwairiyya Paruk on her winning entry



Our winning logo entry!

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Occupational Therapy Students “Dazzle for Disabilities” on Casual Day

casual-day-made-fun-for-all-by-occupational-therapy-studentsIt was a day of bubbles, bling and the colour blue as six Occupational Therapy students hosted a glitzy themed party for adults with psychiatric illness and intellectual disability at the protective training facility, Challenge Durban North.

The third-year students – Ms Mookho Makhata, Ms Sanchia Abrams, Ms Tamlyn Wanless, Ms Lauren Felgate, Ms Miksha Jagwanth and Ms Ameera Kakawere – were placed at Challenge Durban North as part of their Psychosocial Theory and Fieldwork module. They seized Casual Day 2014 – a nationally-observed day aimed at raising awareness about disability – as an opportunity to “dazzle for disabilities” and organised a fun-filled party with games, make-up artists and entertainment for all.

It was the 20th birthday edition of this auspicious event. The theme for the day was “Bring out the bling” and the theme colour was “dazzle blue”.

The event was a tremendous success and the students conveyed their thanks to Pick n Pay Hyper by the Sea for donating food, snacks and drinks for the party; Imagination Costumes for lending them the costumes and props; Nadine and Natalie Wessels for putting makeup and smiles on people’s faces; Mixies Cake Decor for its funky and flavourful cupcake supply; MCSR Function Hire (Pty) for the much-enjoyed bubble machine; and Trevoulin for his fantastic videography.

‘This day of awareness, laughter, dancing and all-round fun will not soon be forgotten,’ said Makhata, who said she wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives, especially vulnerable populations, which is why she decided to study Occupational Therapy at UKZN.

Lunga Memela

UKZN Occupational Therapists Reach out to Refugee Children

occupational-therapists-reach-out-to-refugee-children-1The quality of life for refugee children at a Chatsworth camp in Durban is improving weekly thanks to UKZN occupational therapists  (OT) and students committed to alleviating harm caused by xenophobic attacks.

The team of staff and final-year students led by OT Senior Tutor, Ms Chantal Christopher, said the camp was chaotic.

While there had been outreach from companies and non-governmental organisations at the site, the team noted that not all children responded well to mass interventions.

The children needed aid more geared towards optimising their well-being and functioning through alternate experience and recovery of roles. Successful interventions needed to prompt a positive response within the children.

‘All their thoughts, hopes and dreams have been slashed,’ said Christopher.

With the primary goal of occupational therapy being to enable individuals to participate independently in their activities of daily living, UKZN’s OT team aimed to reinvigorate and remind the victims of the joy of being children again.

‘The kids need educational stimulation ad maybe even reintegration into school,’ she said. ‘It is important to build their resilience and allow them to be children within their developmental levels.’

The team, which visits the site every Wednesday, has also strengthened its focus on youngsters between the ages of eight and 15 whom they said are often the forgotten minority because they are not considered young children or adults.

All the work has been done on a voluntary basis with very limited resources. It has proved to be an invaluable opportunity, however, because it allowed students to broaden their scope of practice and become social activists and agents of change.

Christopher said she was passionate about the intervention because she had conducted OT research three years ago on refugees. ‘When the xenophobia arose we knew we had to step in to help.’

Christopher and her colleagues are also writing chapters for an upcoming book compiled by the organisation: OT without Borders.

Lunga Memela