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Youth band together for safer township

Posted : 24 January 2013
Walmer Sun reporter

A GROUP of 110 disadvantaged but motivated pupils from Walmer Township were given the opportunity in December to take part in an eight-day educational and fun-filled summer camp.

Each year Masifunde, a youth development organisation based in Walmer, organises a special summer camp for the children of Walmer Township. The summer camp is a reward for all the pupils who take part in Masifunde’s extracurricular life-skills training programme.

The camp, Learn4Life!, gives the children a great holiday away from all the problems and sorrows of everyday township life and focuses on one life skills topic.

Last year, the topic was “Youth for safer communities”, a precursor for a huge project scheduled for 2013.

The Youth for Safer Communities project is about creating awareness of the role youth can play in ensuring that their communities are safe and activating them to play their role in achieving this.

“We want them to be urban pioneers and to start something in their communities using the public spaces like parks and open areas that they already have, bringing life and energy to the community,” said project coordinator Linda Zali.

At the camp, the pupils laid a foundation for a series of workshops that they will facilitate with grade 10s at 25 different high schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay northern areas, suburbs and townships in terms three and four.

They started their research in term four of 2012 when they collected information on the causes of crime at the individual and external level such as personality types and relationships. They then branched out to the community and the society to find out what encourages crime in their environment. At the summer camp they consolidated all their research.

The pupils also discussed what it meant to be a local hero of safety, someone in a community others look up to and who contributed directly or indirectly to increased safety. It could be someone who had started a soccer club to get the youth off the streets, or someone who opened a hair salon and turned a quiet corner into a lively, positive meeting place.

With their workshop pupils from Walmer Township also wanted to motivate more of their peers to become active. They believe the youth can increase safety in the Bay – even if it is only a little bit.

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