Crime fighting in Nyanga has taken a completely new turn as a group of about 30 learners from primary schools in the area, were the first to graduate in an inaugural Youth Leadership Project ceremony on Thursday. Learner’s perseverance, dedication and commitment was recognised during the ceremony held at the Verde Hotel, at the Cape Town International Airport.The project, a Nyanga SAPS initiative, is aimed at preventing young people from getting involved in crime. Participants are drawn from schools around the area, and for a year, they take part in various initiatives under the watchful eye of the police. Life Skills training is part of the project. At least 10 Grades six and seven learners from Liwa, Bongolethu and Hlengisa primary schools took part in the project. Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata of the Nyanga Police Station, said they want to be proactive in the fight against crime.“We taught them leadership skills and encouraged them to focus on their studies so that they can stay out of danger,” said Ncata. He added that they worked with schools to select deserving learners. Ncata said the programme would continue in 2019, and they plan to bring in more schools. “When people think of Nyanga, they think about crime and murder, as officers we are tired of collecting dead bodies, we need to adopt a new approach. So, we want to demonstrate that there are good things that are happening in Nyanga,” said Ncata. He added that they wanted the learners to make their parents proud. Ecstatic parents described the initiative as great.Phumela Tsondo, a parent, said: “As parents we need to be supportive to our children and ensure that they (learners) do their school work. We want them to change Nyanga to be a better place and a tourist destination.” She urged parents to attend their children’s school meetings to learn about their behaviour. Liwa primary educator Nombulelo Ngxamngxa described the event as educational and informative. She said the certificates would inspire the learners. Ngxamngxa said her school put different types of learners together for peer support towards each other. “When we chose children for the project, we mixed them up between those who are ill- disciplined and others who have good behavioural patterns, so they can learn together,” she said. Ngxamngxa cited peer pressure and family problems as some of the reason that cause children to misbehave. “Other children misbehave at school because of problems that she or he is facing at home. Or he is influenced by his peers,” she stated.Mihlali Lusizi , a participant from Bongolethu Primary in Philippi, described the project as very educational. “We were taught about behaviour, and we were taken out to the nature reserve to see caves and slept in a hotel,” he said. He encouraged his peers to stop doing drugs and alcohol and focus on their studies.