Schools Asbestos Awareness Workshop – Asbestos the Silent Killer 

Report by Prudence Kotoloane, Asbestos Interest Group



Venue: Galotolo Primary School
Date: 16 June 2016
Facilitators: Asbestos Interest Group Staff
Target groups: pupils from local primary and middle schools


The Asbestos Interest Group is a non-profit organisation based in Kuruman Town. It is responsible for teaching about and identifying asbestos in the local municipalities. The main aim is to create asbestos awareness in John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipalities. The awareness is achieved through workshops, campaigns and community awareness initiatives. The asbestos Interest Group is funded by the Asbestos Relief Trust & Kgalagadi Relief Trust. This is the third asbestos awareness workshop conducted by the Asbestos Interest Group on Youth Day.


The attendance was very good.

The following schools participated:

  1. Ineeleng Primary School
  2. Maipeing Primary School
  3. Ncweng Primary School
  4. Reitemogetse Primary School
  5. Galotolo Primary School
  6. Khiba Junior Secondary School

Principals from the following schools were present:

Reaiteka Primary School – Mr. S. A. Taunyane

Galotolo Primary School – Mrs. Modise


Candle Lighting

Candles were lit for the following reasons:

White Candle: to give hope to those who are affected by asbestos related diseases. We hope that one day there will be a cure for asbestos related diseases.

Yellow Candle: to give courage and strength for those are taking care of the bed ridden asbestos related diseases patients.

Navy Blue Candle: to give comfort to the families those have lost their loved one because of asbestos related diseases.


All attendants were given candles to share the light.

Ice breakers

The children played a game called “mixed fruits”; the aim of the game was to get pupils to mix with others from different schools.

Different ice breakers were used throughout the programme to keep the pupils awake and energetic.


Information Searching

The pupils were divided into groups (Apple, Banana, Pear, Mango and Orange.) and assigned with a different question about asbestos. Each group made a collective presentation about asbestos. The presentations were perfect, subject well known and the presenters were confident.


Different groups discussing their presentations.


Pupils making presentations from their different groups.

A.R.T Palliative Care Nurse – Sr. Phemelo Magabanyane

Sr. Magabanyane spoke about the asbestos related diseases: asbestosis, pleural plagues and pleural thickening, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

She also gave information about the process an individual undergoes to investigate asbestos related diseases.

She showed a sample of x-ray’s that indicate the above mentioned asbestos related diseases.

She alerted the school pupils about their right to a safe environment, to prevent further pollution and keep their surroundings safe.


Sr. Magabanyane making a presentation.


Sr. Magabanyane showing an x-ray.

Mrs. Sarah Mereeotlhe – Asbestos activist

Mrs. Mereeotlhe gave information on how our district got polluted by asbestos fibres. Back in the years, men used to dig asbestos rocks, while women were cobber’s of asbestos from the rocks and children used to pack it in sacks. The family would the sell the sack of asbestos as a way of bringing income to the family.

She also mentioned that most villages in Kuruman are polluted by asbestos because of the uncovered dumps of asbestos mines surrounding our villages.

We were made aware that there are still buildings in our areas that are built with asbestos bricks; there are schools that still contain asbestos bricks. This is a hazard to our lives as these building are getting old and the fibres are now visible. She made pupils aware of these, and advised them never to play with an asbestos fibre.


Mrs. Sarah Mereeotlhe making a presentation.

Asbestos Art Competition

All schools participated in the Asbestos Art Competition.

The schools produced art work on how people get affected by asbestos and the results of being affected by asbestos. Each school made a presentation on their art works. The presentations were done by pupils.

Different stories presented by pupils told how they could generate asbestos dust in the school yard during playing and even at home.


Pupils presenting their art work.

First Prize winner for Primary level – Maipeing Primary School


Pupils from Maipeing Primary School receiving their trophy.

Second Prize winner for primary level – Ineeleng Primary School


Pupils from Ineeleng Primary School receiving their trophy.

Third Prize winner for primary level – Galotolo Primary School


The pupils of Galotolo Primary School receiving their trophy.

All the winners were awarded trophies.

Khiba Junior Secondary had no competition; it received a trophy for presentation.


Khiba Junior Secondary School receiving their trophy.

Attendance Certificates

The Asbestos Interest Group awarded all pupils attendance certificates.


Pupils with their attendance certificates.


Pupils with their attendance certificates.


May we take this opportunity to thank the Asbestos Relief Trust, the Kgalagadi Relief Trust and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat for the Education programme initiative. It strengthened the Asbestos Interest Group’s campaigns and teachings around Kuruman communities.

We also thank our Department of Education, district office for allowing us to host the event at Galotolo Primary and also for giving us the permission to involve other schools.

We hope the Youth Day workshop will perpetuate and keep on teaching pupils on yearly basis.

Knowledge is power and it is mandatory to teach children on safe environment.



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