Superwomen wear orange

2017-03-07 06:01
Ocean View’s “Orange Ladies” are fighting social ills in their suburb.PHOTO: nicole mccain

Ocean View’s “Orange Ladies” are fighting social ills in their suburb.PHOTO: nicole mccain

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They may not wear capes, but orange t-shirts are all a group of women need to step up as Ocean View’s heroes.

Fondly referred to as the “Orange Ladies”, a group of women are tackling truancy, learner safety and substance abuse.

The nickname comes from the orange t-shirts they wear.

A partnership between the Ocean View Care Centre and the City of Cape Town, the project was established to provide an intervention programme based on positive safe living and to celebrate women rising above adversity, says Mayco member (South) Eddie Andrews.

The women were trained under the expanded public works programme.

“This project offers women the opportunity to identify and assist in addressing challenges in rental stock areas,” he says.

Towards the end of last year, several meetings were held with officials of the social development department to create a plan to address the “huge” truancy problem in Ocean View, explains Ocean View Care Centre co-founder Johann Kikillus.

“It was noted that due to the enormity of the problem a team would be needed to ‘sweep’ the streets. Together with this team, we were able to get several dozen children back into school. The team now assists with several projects – assisting at the schools, ensuring children are safe en route to school and even stopping a gang fight or two outside the high school when the police did not arrive,” he says.

“The Orange Ladies are an exceptional group of women who, in my opinion, have become the real heroes of Ocean View.”

Team leader Sharon Brink says although some of their work is challenging, the response from the community is all the reward the women need.

For Michelle Orris the reward comes from working with children in the community. The women ensure the learners get to school safely, run awareness programmes at the schools and also have an after-school programme where they help children with their homework, reading and writing.

“The women started the ‘walking bus’ project in their areas. This is a safety initiative that entails walking children to school and back home,” says Andrews.

“It is hoped that together we can create safer communities through this programme. These women are taking care of the needs of the residents living in rental stock areas. Crime is decreasing and incidents are being reported, whether it is a water leak or a blocked drain. Children are being walked to school and back home and this creates a safe environment for the community.”

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