Holiday programmes help keep youth away from gangsterism

2016-07-14 06:00
 Bishop Nyobole and Ntombekhaya Nkumanda with the children and guests at the Graceland Baptist Pentecostal Church on Thursday.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Bishop Nyobole and Ntombekhaya Nkumanda with the children and guests at the Graceland Baptist Pentecostal Church on Thursday. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Children from Graceland and surrounding areas had an interesting alternative to the loitering that takes place during school holidays.

The local Baptist Pentecost Church and the Community Works projects teamed up to host a week long school holidays programme for young children.

The program began on Monday when children as young as four years old were engaged in activities such as music, life skills and personal development.

According to community worker, Ntombekhaya Nkumanda, the programme was aimed to keep the school goers busy during the mid-year recess.

“In many of our homes when the parents go to work, there aren’t any babysitters so the children are left on their own. By engaging them in programmes such as these will take them off the street. Put them in one place where they will not only learn but also be entertained,” she said.

The area is one of the most affected by gang violence and the organisers have opened the programme to even the older youngsters in an effort to draw them away from the fighting.

“We begin our day at 8:00 in the morning and they then go home around 16:00. We have children as old as 19 years old and we involve them in our programmes to include sports as well.

We are also working hard in the fight against substance abuse by invited speakers from The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug to speak to the children about the dangers of substance abuse,” she added.

Nkumanda said that this was not the first time they had collaborated with the church and that they are hoping to engage in more projects.

Bishop Reubin Sizwe Nyobole, said that it was crucial for churches to play an active role in fighting crime in their communities.

“We understand the challenges faced by the children in this area, that is why we continue to open our doors to the youth to participate in such projects.

On Monday we were transporting young boys to the soccer field for their sports activity and there was animosity from other boys, which we managed to nip it in the bud.”

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