Plan to keep youth off the street

Residents learn the importance of empathy, love and unity in raising a better community.

A two-day truancy workshop was held at the Schotchekloof Primary School Hall in Bo-Kaap in conjunction with the Social Development and Early Childhood Development.

The aim of the workshop, held on Wednesday and Thursday June 20 and 21, was to come up with a plan to keep the young people from Bo-Kaap, off the streets.

The community, together with the City’s Department of Social Development and Early Childhood Development, schools, parents and young people engaged to devise a plan to get children back to school.

The department had been approached by Bo-Kaap residents who were concerned about a lack of facilities for children in the area.

The department then decided to train the concerned people in the community to run programmes for the youngsters. The workshop was the first of its kind in the Bo-Kaap. The brains behind the workshop, Sumaya Ramjam, said many residents want to help but they don’t have expertise or tools to do so.

She said people in government offices rarely know how to help communities, so this was a way for them to bring them to the community and help them, help their communities.

Ms Ramjam added that old values such unity, love, empathy and understanding that a child in the community was everyone’s child, needed to be rekindled to take Bo-Kaap forward. And, she said, the community needed to work together to fight classism.

Kirsten Poking, 24, said she decided to join the workshop because she wanted to use skateboarding to keep young girls busy during the winter school holidays. Ms Poking is currently working with Indigo Youth Movement which works with the City to teach skateboarding to young girls after school and she will be heading the programme in the Bo-Kaap.

Ms Poking said she hoped to help young girls find balance in their lives through the skills learnt in the programme and increase representation of female skateboarders.

“I grew up using my skateboard as a means of transportation and as a girl travelling alone to different communities, I felt confident because I knew that if need be, I could hit and run with my skateboard. So I want to instil confidence in young girls and break the stigma that it’s a ‘boy thing’,” said Ms Poking.

Ms Poking said there’s work that needed to be done but not enough manpower in the community to get these programmes off the ground. Workshops such as this one, however, highlight the initiatives and assist the people with support, she said.

“My vision for this community is social cohesion and co-operation; to see people coming together and take initiative and see everyone making the change that they want to see in the Bo-Kaap instead of sitting back and giving orders,” she said.