YFC begins car sticker project

2015-11-11 06:01
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt Simphiwe Sithole,         co-ordinator of the        outreach programme, with one of the stickers.

PHOTO: Ian Carbutt Simphiwe Sithole, co-ordinator of the outreach programme, with one of the stickers.

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YOUTH For Christ (YFC) in Pieter- maritzburg­ launched a car sticker campaign to give motorists a tangible way of supporting and caring for children and youth living on the city streets by buying car stickers for R50, which goes to YFC for them.

The campaign enables motorists to help homeless without giving money to them which, is one of the reasons that keeps them on the streets - knowing they get an income.

The Khayalethu car sticker project is aimed at helping street children and youths, specifically those under 18, who are Khayalethu’s main focus.

In articles published in Maritzburg Fever, outreach co-ordinator of YFC, Simphiwe Sithole, asked the community not to give them money as this “builds a relationship” with them.

Sithole said that some children have been offered assistance by the public in terms of finding work for them and getting them off the street, and thereby never being bothered by them again.

“Giving money directly to a child or a youth on the street only makes the streets a comfortable place to live on, making the decision to leave much harder.

“People often want to help, but don’t know how. People feel burdened to see children­ on the street, or feel guilty for not giving money when a child begs at the window. The car sticker project serves this market­,” said Sithole.

Before YFC started selling the car stickers, Sithole and his team explained the car stickers to the people so they are aware of them.

The car sticker serves three purposes, they are a source of income for the Khayalethu Project so developmental programmes can continue, they are a promotional marketing drive that creates awareness for motorists not to give money to children on the streets, and having the car sticker on the windscreen is a reminder to children that motorists care.

“We believe that this will help bridge the gap between the motorist and the young person on the street. If you invest in the car stickers you are more likely to have a positive mentality, which is really needed.

“Children and youth on the streets want to be seen and treated as human beings, not as criminals, outcasts or an annoyance,” said Sithole.

The funds are directed to Khayalethu Outreach Programme that works with young people struggling with street life and are also used for the rehabilitation programme, transporting children and youth to rehabilitation centres and home visitations. Sithole said there are approximately 150 people living on Pietermaritzburg streets, but the numbers have come down over the past year.

Khayalethu has been able to reunite more than 10 children and youth with their families.

Some returned home on their own after one-on-one sessions and relationship- building with them. There were 12 people who attended a three-month rehabilitation programme this year and have returned home, while eight are on the waiting list for admission to rehabilitation centres in the new year. There has also been an improvement and decrease in the number of children living at the new shelter in Havelock Road as part of the Lots projects.

The car stickers can be bought from YFC offices at 1 Alan Paton Avenue (above Body Dynamics Gym. For more information contact YFC at 033 345 2970 or visit www.youthkzn.co.za/car-stickers/

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