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Health in Action benefits children

A school programme that aims to deal with social ills such as poverty and unemployment is doing wonders in communities.

In South Africa, non-profit organisations play a very important role in supporting government’s programmes and goals.

INMED Partnerships for Children is one such  organisation. It ensures that children lead healthier lives.

INMED’s Health in Action programme promotes healthy lifestyles for children by providing nutrition education, physical exercise and school gardens.

Currently carried out in 116 schools in 13 disadvantaged communities in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, the programme is reaching more than 100 000 children.

“South Africa is facing a public health crisis as obesity rates rise while hunger and malnutrition persist for too many,” explains Health in Action programme director Unathi Sihlahla.

“Through this school-based programme, children learn about nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyles. This is done through hands-on, skills-based activities, including the development of school gardens that provide nutritious fresh produce.”

The programme is based on the success of the initiative in Brazil, which started in 2010 and has reached more than 1000 schools.

 In South Africa, Health in Action has been running since 2015.

“We have seen the huge value of this programme and the positive impact it has made. We are looking forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of schoolchildren,” said Sihlahla.

Another important part of the Health in Action initiative is providing work for unemployed youth. Many of the activities in the programme are led by youth – known as Break Time Buddies – who are recruited by INMED through local school governing boards.

 “This programme has enabled me to make a difference in my community. Every time I visit schools I am welcomed by screams of kids competing for my attention,” says Samkelo Dumse, a Break Time Buddy in Kwazakhele in Port Elizabeth.

INMED’s work is made possible through partnerships with local and provincial governments, large companies and organisations.