Initiative invests ‘positive energy’ in youth

KAYLYNN PALM

Here’s looking at me, tell me what’s it gonna be, is an exciting youth programme that will see youth tackling crime and grime.

The programme will focus on substance abuse, gangsterism, teenage pregnancy, HIV/Aids and peace in schools.

It was started by Ward 79 councillor Solomon Philander on Thursday March 22. He said the main objective of the programme is to get pupils active in their community and to contribute positively.

A total of 39 pupils of Beacon Hill and Tafelsig high schools went on a leadership camp from Tuesday March 22 to Thursday March 31 to the League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) campsite in Strandfontein. Mr Philander said the programme was launched during the camp and pupils are excited about the projects and activities they will embark on this year.

He said the programme will increase peer education and these youngsters will lead discussions in the community, in government and contribute solutions to challenges in their community.

“Community intervention most-ly focuses on social discourses to the extent that almost all energy has been channelled to rehabilitate youth and we forget that youth can also contribute to the solution. As a councillor, I formed partnership with various NGOs to implement a variety of interventions over the past five years.

“In December last year Safeline Child Abuse and Prevention Centre in Beacon Valley, led a debate group at Beacon Hill High. It was clear that we cannot continue with the same interventions as youth require a variety of interventions at different times. Investing positive energy into our community systems will yield different outcomes,” he said.

Beacon Hill High Grade 10 pupil, Jamie Lee Hill, 16, said young people are faced with a range of challenges but also need to stand up against what is wrong and take action. “There’s no longer a sense of unity in our schools these days. Pupils have no respect for each other. Pupils are engaging in drugs and some of them even act like gangsters. The sessions were informative and I learnt a lot about myself and the community,” she said.

Beacon Hill High Grade 10 pupil, Romano Kock, 16, said children and youth are exposed to gangsterism, alcohol and drug abuse constantly. “More people are becoming unemployed, especially the youth. When you matriculate, it’s difficult to get a job. Our young people then revert to criminal activities. I am keen on being part of the programme and ready to work on the projects. Our youth cannot sit and accept the problems in our community – we need to address them so that we and our family members can succeed,” he said.

Grade 8 pupil Jayden Petersen, 14, added that pupils are dedicated and will be embarking on a march against gangsterism soon. He appealed for community assistance and support. “This programme empowers us as individuals and is equipping us with the necessary skills. Thank you Mr Solomons, our school and community members. If we want to do this, we must work together,” he said.

Mr Solomons said pupils will first embark on programmes focusing on peace in their school, substance abuse and anti-social group activities out and inside the school.

He said further specialised programmes will focus on teenage pregnancy and HIV.