Thinking beyond gangsterism

2016-05-24 06:00
Lavender Hill residents came together to discuss their challenges and to come up with solutions through a workshop organised by Learning in Reach.

Lavender Hill residents came together to discuss their challenges and to come up with solutions through a workshop organised by Learning in Reach.

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Lavender Hill residents came together on Saturday 14 May to discuss the challenges and opportunities within their community.

About 40 community members met at the inaugural co-design workshop held at Seawinds Community Hall. The workshop was run by the non-profit organisation Learning In Reach.

The aim of the workshop was to identify skills within the community as well as formal and informal support structures that are in place.

Some of the challenges identified by the group were thinking beyond gangsterism and trying to express the positive stories and people that come from the area, despite the challenges that they face.

The lack of an extensive neighbourhood watch network in the area that has proven successful in other areas was noted as something worth exploring. Lack of employment was also discussed as a huge challenge. Those that attended were told that in order for change to happen, success needs to be celebrated and identified more.

Vuyisa Qabake of Learning in Reach, who chaired the workshop, says defining opportunities within a community such as Lavender Hill was a valuable exercise.

“There are clearly people who have started their own businesses, their own initiatives and people who take enormous pride in the area where they live. The potential is there and it is exciting,” he says.

Neville Van Schalkwyk, a community member from the area, says: “We really benefited, especially talking about how to put bread on our tables and how to look after our environment. We also learned that we can make the change and be the change to better our community and our lives by holding hands and working together.”

Leanne Reid, director of Learning In Reach, says they were deeply motivated by the turnout at the event.

“It shows the commitment and need for innovative solutions within the community that are driven and owned by the community. Our next exercise is to set up regular neighbourhood network meetings to connect the movers and shakers. We aim to collaborate and not compete with existing NPOs working in this space and to create a meaningful framework of development. It’s an impactful project and we look forward to partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs looking to support and mentor parents and guardians to success.”

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