Pastor runs school holiday programme

Some of the children having fun and enjoying the occasion.

He is popularly known for his golden voice and his powerful sermons which are broadcast on radio.

Now Pastor Reuben Nyobole is using his Baptist Pentecostal Church as a “safe haven” for children in his community during the winter holidays.

With the help of some church and community members, the renowned man of God looks to support about 150 young people between the ages of six and 25, equipping them with life skills with a hope of making them good future citizens, and to protect them from social ills such as drugs, crime and gangsterism.

Programme co-ordinator Ntom-bekhaya Nkumanda said each day they get speakers from different organisations and institutions, including SAPS, to talk to the children. They also take part in a range of activities to stimulate their brains.

However, the cold weather has affected some of the plans.

“The idea is to keep them busy throughout the day,” said Ms Nkumanda, adding that while the focus was on Grade 12 pupils, there had also been a lot of interest from the young ones and “we can’t chase them away”.

She said the programme had given them a lot of insight into what happened behind closed doors in some homes.

“Children come and make confessions and we have to support them,” said Ms Nkumanda.

Adding his voice, Mr Nyobole said Graceland was one of Khayelitsha’s smallest communities, but was ravaged by crime and drugs.

“This (programme’s aim) is to try and stop or prevent them from getting involved in those things,” he said.

“We would also like parents to come and assess what we are doing.”

Mr Nyobole said it was important to help steer children’s way of thinking while they were still young.

“There is a lot of peer pressure out there. It dominates our youth,” he said.

“They want to belong and feel part of society.”

He added that they also wanted to show young people the “consequences of crime or of what can happen when you belong”.

The programme was launched last year and is run during June and December holidays.

“We will have another programme in December and we hope to have more children,” said Mr Nyobole, adding there had been a gradual increase in numbers since the launch.