In the run-up to Youth Day on Friday June 16, community worker Warda Cay urged young people to “go to school, study hard and set goals”.
Ms Cay, 32, who hails from Eastridge, said the day is worth celebrating.
“It honours youth who fought for equal education during apartheid. Youth fought bravely and many lost their lives. We should be grateful because we are reaping the benefits of their sacrifices,” she said.
Ms Cay is passionate about helping others and said her burning desire to do so started when she was in Grade 3 at Imperial Primary School.
“I can remember helping someone who never had stationery or lunch. I would always remind my mom to put in extra bread which I would share with her during break times. I would also sit by her, so that she could use my stationery.
“I felt hurt when the other children would bully her because she never had anything. During intervals I would go out in search of children who did not have anything to eat.”
Ms Cay said she is at her happiest when she can put a smile on somebody else’s face; help children and hear their laughter; and comfort troubled youth while advising them to stay on the right path.
“The youth should listen to their parents and teachers as they only want the best for them. Maintain respect and love yourself. Keep on learning. Know your skills and surround yourself with people who complement your talents. Focus on your strengths and set your weakness aside.”
She told the youth that it’s very important to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of family values. “Don’t waste your time; never give up and stay away from bad elements,” she said.
Presently Ms Cay runs three soup kitchens in Mitchell’s Plain while being involved with organisations that tackle bullying; the abuse of women and children as well as trying to end the rape and murder of women and children.
Ms Cay is also a co-ordinator of the walking bus initiative which aims to create a safe and supervised route for pupils to and from school every day with the commitment of community workers.
Ms Cay told the Plainsman that she also plans programmes during school holidays to keep pupils busy and off the streets.
“Every December I hand-out toys to at least 200 children. This initiative is growing from strength to strength each year. I also regularly hand out stationery, clothes and organise outings for residents who are in need,” she said.
When quizzed about the best advice her mother ever gave her, she said: “This question had me in tears as I lost my mom 12 years ago. She was my role model and today I’m following in her footsteps. My mother encouraged me to walk the walk and not talk about what I am planning to do. She showed me how to be strong, independent and to love myself. She was the type of woman who would give her last to others even if it meant giving us less,” she said.
To get involved with Ms Cay’s outreach work, call her on 076 792 3914.