Members of Phakama Youth Group from Browns Farm in Philippi are appealing to the community to assist them with funds to support their organisation. Phakama is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which empowers young children with various skills. It also assists them to stay away from bad activities and encourages them to focus on their studies.Among others, the group trains children spantsula and traditional dance, poems, drama, and choral music.Organisation co-founder Ncedo Bhongoza said their aim is to empower children at an early age to make informed decisions. “We started the group in 2009 after we noticed that many children have nothing to do and ended up joining gang groups and others smoke drugs,” he said. The group has 30 members from age seven to 16. The wheelchair-bound Bhongoza said his disability didn’t hinder him from doing what he loves. He said when he was injured in 2016 he was also part of Rainbow Dreams Trust organisation which was based in Victoria Mxenge. “At the time I was more involved in the organisation at Mxenge and my co-founder was leading Phakama. But after I got injured I became hands-on with Phakama because I was struggling to go to Mxenge every day. I didn’t have money for transport,” said Bhongoza. He was shot in the waist during the robbery in his area and his lower body is not functioning. He acknowledged that initially it was difficult for him to accept his condition but later he overcame that. “I wanted to quit the organisation because of the anger that I had inside me. But again, I thought of the purpose why I initiated the group and the children that were going to suffer because of my reaction,” he stated. Bongozo said he has a good relationship with his group members and doesn’t see quitting anytime soon. He said he appointed other group members to lead each other. “I just sit and watch when they are practicing. The group leaders are the ones who are doing a lot of work in terms of teaching others. Fortunately, I’m working with brilliant people who know what I want from them,” said Bhongoza. He urged the parents to be more involved and support their children. One of the group members Ntombizodwa Dlamalala (15) said she joined the group last year through her friends. She says the group keeps them safe and away from the streets.Bhongoza said they don’t necessarily need cash and will appreciate voucher too. They need to buy uniforms and dancing equipment.