‘Don’t send children to tuck shops’

2017-07-25 06:00
The members of the Rene Roman search and rescue group at a team-building exercise.

The members of the Rene Roman search and rescue group at a team-building exercise.

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The Rene Roman search and rescue group has hit a snag. Members have put their patrols on hold because they don’t have uniforms.

The group was started and named after 13-year-old Rene Roman from Lavender Hill was found murdered and raped not far from her home.

Lucinda Evans, founder of the Philisa Abafazi Bethu women and children’s project and the brain behind the group, says the members have had several meetings but now they have to stop patrolling.

“We work in dangerous areas and we had to halt the walkabout for now because we don’t have uniforms that will identify the search group. Since we started about three months ago we have been going out on Fridays, taking children home who are roaming in the streets or those who are sent to tuck shops after dark,” she says.

Members have visited about 297 families to talk to parents about child safety.

“We are talking to parents as we have noticed a lot of young children being sent to the shops after dark. They are sent to buy all sorts of things, like cigarettes, nappies, bread. Our suggestion to parents is: Don’t send small children to the shops as they are more vulnerable. Parents also told us that they can’t send older ones because of them being intimidated by gangs. It is a difficult one to solve but our request is parents should go to the shops themselves; sending their children late is a huge risk,” she says.

The group is appealing for sponsorship for uniforms so they can resume their work.

“We want reflector jackets. Something that will make people identify us easily. We also need help with torches,” says Evans.

Michaela Petersen, who is also part of the group, says they are happy with the work they have done.

“The community has been open and supportive. We are really appealing for help with the uniforms so that we can protect our children. Each time we go out we are reminded of why we started it in the first place,” she says.

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