Churches fight against social ills

2018-01-25 06:01
A social worker Dumisani Samson addressing children about the danger of substance abuse and domestic violence.PHOTOs: Unathi Obose

A social worker Dumisani Samson addressing children about the danger of substance abuse and domestic violence.PHOTOs: Unathi Obose

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Members of Healthy Word of God Church in Site B conducted an awareness campaign to educated children about social ills such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and gangsterism.

The event was held at the church in U Section in Site B. More than 60 children from Site B and surrounding areas attended the event last Friday. Among the guest speakers attended the event was a social worker Dumisani Samson from Samila Gender Counselling and Support Service.

The church Bishop Nosicelo Sikweza described the event as their effort to educate young children about societal issues that have negative impact in the community. “We are targeting children as young as two to 16 years old.

“We’ve perceived that most children committing crime are children coming from broken homes. Its either their parents divorced or grew up in a violent home or their parents are alcoholics. So, we want to educate them at an early age and change them to be better persons. And we tell them even if he or she comes from the abusive family he can change to be a better person,” said Bishop Sikhweza.

She described the event as their first initiative and are intending to change it to be a continuous thing. “This is our first event but we are planning to do it again in June. It will be a continuous thing every year. We have our year plan which includes some remarkable holidays like June 16, Women’s Day and Christmas day and others where we always do our own events,” she said. She said they have a great relationship with the community and they support them on whatever they are doing. “We thank the parents for allowing their children to come to our event that shows they trust and believe to what we are doing. We (church) are also trying to assist the community to fight crime,” she Bishop.

A social worker, Samson from Samila Gender Counselling and Support Service in Khayelitsha applauded the initiative and described it as encouraging. He spoke about gender violence that is happening in many families between parents or sometimes between parents and children. “In most cases fathers are there one becomes abusive. They can be abusive physically, emotionally, verbally, psychologically and economically. Even though even women also abusive to men,” said Samson. He urged parents to take care of their children and stop neglecting them. “Parents must take care of their children spiritual (take them to church). Take care of them physically (allow them to join sport or training). Also mentally (They must give children an opportunity to go to study),” said Samson. He described the province as one of the top provinces for neglecting children.

“Most parents don’t care about their children. Some cases children are sexually abused by a family member or relative of the family. So, we are here today to educate you (children) to speak out. If there is anyone who is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable report him or her to the parents or teacher at school,” he urged them.

One of the children attended the event Lufezeko Makhemane ,12, from S-Section said the event was informative. “They taught us how to behave and encourage us to report anyone who touches us without our consent,” said Makhemane.

Meanwhile Young children from Kuyasa and Endlovini were kept busy Harare and Lingelethu SAPS staff members and other community leaders during the school vacation.

Spearheaded by the Docks Mission Church and Department of Community Safety the programme sought to keep youngsters “busy during the break”.

Docks Mission Church leader Reverend Mongezi Valashiya said this is one of their annual programmes to teach children about safety and life skills.

Speakers from the Department of Community Safety, the police urged the young ones to obey the law.

“Young people are very impressionable and it’s good that the pastors are always putting programmes that speak to the young to keep them focussed,” said Valashiya.

Speakers from the correctional services, social workers, community police forum (CPF) also addressed the children.

Zoliswa Yaphi from the CPF urged the children to respect their parents and the law.

“To stay out of trouble, you must obey the law and focus on your studies,” said Yaphi.

Speaking on behalf of South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca), Mnoneleli ‘Tolo’ Ndlangalavu praised both the church for their role.

Docks Mission’s Reverend Valeshiya said they had a similar programme last year and the “results were amazing”.

“Parents came to us and said their children learned a lot during these camps and we saved them from getting involved in gang fights,” he said.

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