Philippi-based non-profit organisation, Afrika Tikkun, ran a holiday programme from Monday July 10 to Sunday July 16, during which they took 40 local children to a youth camp at High Afrika camp site in Worcester.
This year’s programme focused on raising awareness about HIV/Aids.
According to Shirley Tshwale through this programme, the NPO seeks to take schoolchildren off the streets, away from mischief, and engage them in stimulating fun and games. She said that the annual programme also helped reduce crime and drug use among young people.
Speaking to Vukani before heading to Worcester Ms Tshwale said the idea behind programme was to ensure that young people had a place to play, learn and enjoy fun activities.
“It is amazing how children can be creative and innovative. At the camp we come up with different ways of tackling the issues. They are the ones who comes up with solutions instead of us (spoonfeeding) them. Like the theme we have now of HIV/Aids, they will tell us what is their take, and how are they helping with their communities. They will surprise us as they always do. Kids are amazing,” she said.
The programme, specifically designed for children aged between seven and 15 years, ensures that learning continues in a relaxed and safe environment. The excitement of the children’s face was priceless as their parents saw them off.
Thirteen-year-old Ntando Mate, a pupil at Tsitsa Primary School in Mfuleni said he was very excited and looking forward to the activities and lots of games they would be doing at the camp.
“This is the second time I’m attending a camp. The first camp I went to was in December last year. It was great. We played lots of games and did sessions on peer pressure and HIV/Aids awareness, self-acceptance, family planning and emotional intelligence.
“We did the Long Walk to Freedom hike, played volley ball and went swimming by the river,” he told Vukani.
Parent Khonzekile Bhobho from Mfuleni who was saying good-bye to his 12-year-old son said he was very happy about the opportunity his son was getting.
“Kids turn to drugs and alcohol when they are bored. Aika Tikkun is taking the kids away from all of that and they are very helpful. It is always exciting to see them willing to learn,” said Mr Bhobho.
“By being away from the township and under professional guidance, they will escape many things that they would have been involved in,” he said.