Something to dance about

12 August 2008 | Story by Melanie Jackson

UCT dance students
Students from the UCT School of Dance performed a piece specially for the Women's Day celebration organised by the Faculty of Health Sciences on 7 August.

The Transformation and Equity Portfolio of the Faculty of Health Sciences ensured that the faculty's women were recognised during Women's Month, arranging an early Women's Day celebration on 7 August.

The programme included a performance by the UCT School of Dance and an inspirational presentation by a visiting professor from the University of Ottawa in Canada, guest speaker Dr Rachel Thibeault (left).

Dr Rachel Thibeault

Thibeault's presentation, on community-based approaches to promote the rights of women and children in Africa, provided a sometimes-harrowing insight into the lives of women and children in countries such as Sierra Leone and Nicaragua.

One is that of a 14-year-old girl from Sierra Leone who escaped from a rebel camp after nine years of captivity, but HIV-positive, one leg amputated for disobedience, and with a child that was the product of rape. With the help of a local NGO, however, this young girl obtained microcredit to start a business, and is now a successful businesswoman who has earned the respect of the paramount chiefs.

Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Marian Jacobs, challenged the audience to find their own place in the UCT and faculty community, and to play a part in finding solutions both within the faculty and in the wider community.

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