In recognition of World Stroke Awareness Day on 29 October, over 3 000 primary school learners across the Western Cape completed a life-saving education programme that protects the elderly.Now considered “FAST Heroes”, these children understand what a stroke is, can recognise the signs as it happens and know to call an ambulance immediately, because time is of the essence.
The grade 3 learners from Petunia Primary School have completed the fun, interactive FAST Heroes programme to coincide with World Stroke Day (29 October 2021). This international award-winning educational initiative actively harnesses children’s innate enthusiasm through stories illustrating superhero grandparents. Considering that a large number of South African children spend ample time with their grandparents who are often their primary caregivers, and most at risk, this initiative comes at an important time.
“We are super excited to have our grade 3 learners participating in this amazing initiative. In our communities, grandparents play an important role in children’s lives and the FAST Heroes campaign aims to recruit children worldwide to help save their grandparents by recognising the signs of stroke and calling for medical help immediately,” explains Mr Faizal Yon, Principal at Petunia Primary School.
The FAST Heroes campaign teaches children to recognise the three most common stroke symptoms when “the evil Clot” strikes: a face that suddenly droops to one side, an arm that suddenly becomes weak and speech that is slurred, or “broken”. Children participating in a 5-week programme undergo weekly simulation and repetition to learn the essential life skill of staying calm and how to call an ambulance immediately by dialling 112 on any mobile device.
“When children are excited about something they have learned, they spontaneously rush to share it with parents and siblings,” says Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa. “This is why we’ve launched the campaign in South Africa, focusing on the Western Cape as our initial 6-month pilot, in conjunction with Boehringer Ingelheim. We are proud of our campaign impact on young children to date, and we look forward to implementing this programme with other schools across the country next year.”