Street children on the move

2017-05-30 06:00

A dozen children are sleeping on the streets of Mouille Point.

This according to a report by fieldworker Jantjies Booysen presented at the annual meeting of the Mouille Point Ratepayers’ Association.

Booysen’s work is funded by both the Mouille Point and Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay ratepayers’ associations.

In his report, Booysen indicates he has worked with 12 children in the Mouille Point area. However, he says, street children are roaming the streets from Camps Bay to Green Point. He says the children range from nine to 17 years, with many of them congregating at traffic lights in Mouille Point on Bill Peters Drive and on Glengariff and Beach roads in Sea Point. Some sleep near the Sea Point Pavilion.

Many of these children go home during the week but sleep in the area over weekends, Booysen says.

“Most children come from dysfunctional homes and are already involved in gang activities. Poverty and [problems in the] family structures bring children onto the streets, as well as dropping out of school and gangs using the children,” he says.

However, the solution is more complex, Booysen explains.

“The problem of street children needs to be addressed in communities of origin where the children come from.”

This intervention is provided through Booysen’s organisation, Ubuntu, which runs positive alternative programmes for at-risk children from age 10 to prevent them moving from their communities to the streets. At the aftercare school programme, children are encouraged to use free time constructively and they are helped with homework. The programme improves reading, peer relations and social skills, he explains. “Another objective is to empower parents to cope with the demands of rearing their teenage children in the difficult day and age we live in and the challenges that go with it,” he says.

But the community needs to play their part in giving responsibly to organisations working with street people, Booysen says.

V For more information call Jantjies Booysen on 073 649 1323.

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