An idle mind is a devil’s playground, which is why the Phakama for Social Welfare organisation held a one-week school holiday programme at Chris Hani Hall in Mfuleni on Monday July 3.
With school’s closed for the June holidays, many children roam the streets with nothing to do, or no one to watch them as many parents are at work.
Auxiliarysocialworkerat Phakama for Social Welfare, Mandisa Bovana, said the school holidays were when children were raped and abused because they were left alone. She said the programme taught children safety tips through various activities and advised them where to report abuse.
She said it was important for children to be kept occupied so that they did not get lured into crime. Ms Bovana said they encouraged the children to share their views and talk about their problems. Often they found that parents were not open enough with their children about issues affecting teenagers.
She advised parents to pay attention to their children’s behaviour and attitude.
The organisation, which was started in August last year, operates mainly in schools in Gugulethu, Philippi and Crossroads and plans to reach out to other areas.
Ms Bovana said they wanted to open a branch in Mfuleni because there were not many organisations working with children there.
She appealed to parents to also open up about issues that they were facing, saying that even though the organisation was mainly targeting children, it also assisted parents.
Ms Bovana said it was critical that they form strong relationship with parents so that they could support their work.
She said today’s children were inquisitive and needed proper mentorship and guidance.
“The true reflection of society is often revealed in how it treats its children. Children need to be empowered with vital information so that they are able make wise choices. Children are the gifts from God and need love and care. We want these children to be better citizens. We don’t want them to be involved in crime and other issues that might jeopardise their careers,” she said.
Grade 10 pupil Athule Nduna said she was glad to be part of the programme. She said she had made new friends and would tell other children what she had learnt.