International FASD Awareness Day 2004

South Africa

Dear All,

International FAS Day was incredible here, the breakFAS was supposed to be for 100 and in the end it was standing room only! Media was out in force from TV to Radio to the Newspapers. The TV coverage was done in three languages. In the morning Ronnie Jurgens from the Dept of Health did a live broadcast to the whole of Africa. There have been phone calls from Canada, France, Italy, England, Mozambique, Nigeria and many more. Today BBC World Service TV are filming and doing a radio broadcast. Last night Sophy Warner was interviewed about learning problems on a radio programme which covers Africa. There was a phone-in programme on one radio station and local radio stations mentioned International FASday in their news broadcasts throughout Wednesday and Thursday and today there are more articles in the newspapers as well as those that ran yesterday.

What was nice to see, was the number of young people who attended our breakFAS, from University students studying to be psychologists to pharmacists.

There were at least 20 schools doing awareness campaigns and all the clinics in maternity hospitals put up posters and handed out leaflets.

Sophy Warner also had a function for about 60 people and is now putting together all their ideas and compiling a directory of organisations.

I asked a Member of Parliament to speak yesterday as he is putting warning labels on his wine and quite an interesting point he made was the fact that our leading brewery makes Millers beer in the USA and South African Wines are exported to the USA, all carrying health warnings but none are put on here in South Africa. Strange but True!

Our breakFAS ended on a wonderful note which I wish you could have seen, as I can't describe it to give it justice. Three ladies 'gate crashed' and did a wonderful act. They were all 'pregnant' and very funny, which got the audience involved. One came in carrying crates of wine and beer for a party for her unborn baby and the other one told them her first baby was FAS and how difficult it was having that child, etc etc. It was done in such an amusing way but got the point over and then they finished with an upbeat song carrying the FAS message.

So I would say that International FAS Day was a resounding success here and now so many other people have got involved to carry the awareness out to the people that it can only go from strength to strength for the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Vivien Lourens


FAS Community Resource Center

Fasstar Enterprises