Holiday programmes for more than 400 primary and high school pupils from Lower Crossroads and surrounding areas, were hosted by Beautiful Gate, in Philippi.
The programmes, run in partnership with schools in the area, were aimed at increasing safety and preventing anti-social behaviour. The high school programmes saw close to 90 pupils from Phakama, Phandulwazi, Philippi and Vuyiseka high schools participating.
Co-ordinator of the high school programme, Sonwabile Dwangu, said they aimed to positively engage, entertain and safeguard the youth during the school holidays when they were at greater risk of exposure to substance abuse, drugs, and violence.
Mr Dwangu said the organisation also gave academic support to the young people.
“We had a post matric programme that prepared them (for life) after they have passed their matric.
“We selected these four schools in our areas because it is the area that we work in,” he said.
He said his organisation always encouraged children to attend holiday programmes, to learn and be active in a safe environment, and called on parents to work with them to fight social ills.
The three-day high school programme ended on Sunday March 20, with the primary school programme starting on Tuesday March 22.
The younger children, led by Alice Moyo, were treated to fun activities up until Thursday March 24, when the programme ended and they were given the rest of the time to spend with their families.
There were dance, drama, music, Marimba and other activities.
Volunteer Mandisa Yekani said while the programme offered the children an opportunity to show off their talents, it wasn’t all fun and games.
“They were also taught about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and other social ills.
“We are a church organisation. Obviously we tell them about the significance of the holiday.
“But we decided that all children have the right to a safe environment,” she said.
Another volunteer, Zanozuko Mramba, said the three-day programme achieved a lot, including teaching children about keeping safe.
“They were always willing to learn. We had great time with them.
“Hopefully they have learned what they could use in future and their studies,” he said.