Group aims to keeps girls safe

Teacher and mentor Lavisa Sophangisa says she is passionate about children. She has appealed to other parents to protect girl children in their areas.

Lavisa Sophangisa is passionate about two things, education and children.

She decided to create a safe space for children in her Nyanga home after seeing them roaming the streets and not following the lockdown regulations.

The group, called Sakhisizwe, has 15 children, mainly girls from the age of 5 to 12.

It offers the children dance classes and a place where they can get help with their homework after school.

“The aim is to keep as many young girls away from streets as I can. As we all know that Nyanga has been the talk of the town when it comes to crime, I try to help where I can. I try as much as I can to educate them. I might not be educated but I like education and children.Those two are my passions,” Ms Sophangisa told Vukani.

She said the project started in October after she saw that people were no longer worried about Covid-19 protocols. “Children were all over the show and I had to think quickly and call them in. I have spoken to their parents and they bought the idea. I passed children every day who have nothing to do, but that is no more here now. We learn from each other. We focus more on their safety and welfare. They also speak freely with me of any challenge they have,” she said.

She said they have also created a support group where they discuss issues and homework. She said she also takes them to church on Sundays.

She appealed to other parents to look after their girl children.

“We have seen and heard reports of how young girls are killed and raped. It is now about time that we all stand up to save them. In our little spaces and areas, I believe we can do better and save young children. Let us do things without looking for money. Let us treasure the life of these young and beautiful souls. I established this for that reason, to safe lives.”

Anethemba Mangcotywa, 12, who is part of the group, said she has learned a lot including about female body changes. She speaks fondly of her teacher and her peers in the group. “I am delighted to be part of the group. We are safe here. Another thing is that the place gives us an opportunity to showcase our talent. It keeps us away from troubles on the streets,” she said.

Another participant Isiphile Milisi, 8, said: “It is nice to be here because we learn all sorts of things,” she said.

Sinazo Mafuduka, 10, could only say she likes dancing. The group meets everyday after school.