Hundreds of people, young and old, from various communities converged at Spine Road High School in Rocklands to attend an Ifthar feeding programme organised by Sports Stepping Stone (SSS) last Saturday.
The founder of SSS, Abubakar Cassiem, said the event was also part of their poverty alleviation efforts in the communities. “We normally do this event once a year but during Ramadaan we do it every weekend. We transported children from different areas like Athlone, Hanover Park and Delft,” he said.
Mr Cassiem said the main objective was to assist children from underprivileged communities. “Today we have about 200 children attending the event. They are coming from all corners of our society and we welcome everyone, irrespective of colour or race. Besides Ifthar, we have other programmes for senior citizens and Christmas programmes. We also educate them (children) about life skills and crimes such as human trafficking just to make them alert and stay away from wrongdoing,” said Mr Cassiem.
He said his intention is to see the organisation grow. “I wish SSS gets bigger and more children get involved in our programmes. At the moment we have 1 980 children whom we are assisting. Our SSS coaches are working with them to educate them about life skills, abuse and human trafficking. And if they (coaches) find that the problem is beyond them, they refer the child to the Trauma Centre in Woodstock,” said Mr Cassiem.
He said some children they work with are from abusive families. “There are children we’re assisting who have been abused by their mothers’ boyfriends and they had no one to talk to. When they come to us we try and help them,” said Mr Cassiem.
SSS executive member, Shaheed Adonis, emphasised that their objective is to make children alert and aware of the social ills in their communities. “Our slogan is ‘A child in sport is a child out of court’. We visit schools to encourage them to be involved in sport. But we do have Ifthar feeding programmes to support them with food because we believe that a child with an empty stomach cannot learn,” he said.
Mr Adonis urged all community stakeholders to come on board. “We need people to come and support us so that we’re able to feed and clothe them,” he urged.
One of the coaches, Nazeem Mohamed said their job is to help mould their futures. “We are trying to take them away from the drugs on the streets and instil discipline. We also want to give them an opportunity to be professionals footballers one day,” he said.
Parent Leon Hendricks from Portland said the event was a big help to those in need. “It is my second time now attending the event and it is helping us a lot because the majority of people are unemployed and can’t afford to put food on the table. It also unites us as communities – teaching us love and tolerance,” said Mr Hendricks.
Charlotte Carrim from Tafelsig praised Mr Cassiem and his team for the initiative. “I thank Boebie for his initiative because what he did is also benefiting other communities. There are many people out there who are unemployed who can’t even afford to buy bread. We also thank him for taking these children away from the street and helping them to stay away from doing bad things,” said Ms Carrim, who added that she has a son who is in a rehabilitation centre for drug addiction.
Amiena Khan, 12, from Tafelsig also expressed her appreciation for the event.
“I like the fact that people are giving us food. And I enjoy food and drinks,” she said.