Community well-being is key

2020-02-18 06:03
Evan Petersen, principal at Athwood Primary School (middle) is with the Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch. They are from left: Gail Cupido, Faieka Johnson, Merle Fritz and Lynette Domingo. Sedieka Valentine was absent when the photo was taken.

Evan Petersen, principal at Athwood Primary School (middle) is with the Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch. They are from left: Gail Cupido, Faieka Johnson, Merle Fritz and Lynette Domingo. Sedieka Valentine was absent when the photo was taken.

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The well-being of the community in Hanover Park is key to the all-female Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch. They not only assist in the community but also help at Athwood Primary School with the walking bus and in the class.

The five members are Mildred Fritz, Claire-Ann Cupido, Faieka Johnson, Lynette Domingo and Sedieka Valentine.

“At the school we have a good relationship with the teachers. When they are absent due to illness or unforeseen circumstances we phone them and supervise their classes. Some of the teachers would advise us to read to their class or see that they are doing their homework,” says Cupido.

When personal or other stuff disappear at school, they would investigate and bring the culprits to book.

“At night we do patrols and are familiar when newcomers are entering our area. When one person in the community is going through a tough time, we try to be there for them. We even organise taxis if someone has to go to court or report crimes at the police station to show our empathy and sympathy,” she says.

They get to the school early to check if all the learners, 600 in total, and teachers are present.

A few years ago the provincial education department wanted to close the school and the community took charge by guarding and maintaining the school while the future of the school was being decided.

“At night the men of Hanover Park would patrol the school premises and guard the school, and the women would do it during daytime.

“To show the education department that we as a community is serious about the school in Hanover Park we planted flowers and grass and maintained it ourselves. When the closing down was cancelled, the community was overjoyed and that is when we decided as a community to do everything in our power to keep the school open for our kids,” says Cupido.

To be a member of any neighbourhood watch you have to undergo training.

“We all completed our training in first-aid and fire-fighting. Currently we are using the first-aid training more as the learners are running around on the playground and hurt themselves.

“The average age of the NHW members is 50 years and we never had the opportunity to complete our matric or study further. Being involved with the learners at Athwood is the closest we can be to teaching. We all encourage the learners to finish school and study further as they have all the opportunities and bursaries are available. When we were young, we never had the same opportunities and had to work to help raise our families,” she says.

Due to their good relationship with Evan Petersen, principal at Athwood Primary School, the NHW is active in the school as well as the community.

“The best part of our partnership with Petersen is the annual event on 16 December when we feed and entertain 500 kids from the community on the school premises. This is the prelude to putting the learners into a festive mood,” Cupido says.

The well-being of the community in Hanover Park is key to the all-female Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch. They not only assist in the community but also help at Athwood Primary School with the walking bus and in the class.

The five members are Mildred Fritz, Claire-Ann Cupido, Faieka Johnson, Lynette Domingo and Sedieka Valentine.

“At the school we have a good relationship with the teachers. When they are absent due to illness or unforeseen circumstances we phone them and supervise their classes. Some of the teachers would advise us to read to their class or see that they are doing their homework,” says Cupido.

When personal or other stuff disappear at school, they would investigate and bring the culprits to book.

“At night we do patrols and are familiar when newcomers are entering our area. When one person in the community is going through a tough time, we try to be there for them. We even organise taxis if someone has to go to court or report crimes at the police station to show our empathy and sympathy,” she says.

They get to the school early to check if all the learners, 600 in total, and teachers are present.

A few years ago the provincial education department wanted to close the school and the community took charge by guarding and maintaining the school while the future of the school was being decided.

“At night the men of Hanover Park would patrol the school premises and guard the school, and the women would do it during daytime.

“To show the education department that we as a community is serious about the school in Hanover Park we planted flowers and grass and maintained it ourselves. When the closing down was cancelled, the community was overjoyed and that is when we decided as a community to do everything in our power to keep the school open for our kids,” says Cupido.

To be a member of any neighbourhood watch you have to undergo training.

“We all completed our training in first-aid and fire-fighting. Currently we are using the first-aid training more as the learners are running around on the playground and hurt themselves.

“The average age of the NHW members is 50 years and we never had the opportunity to complete our matric or study further. Being involved with the learners at Athwood is the closest we can be to teaching. We all encourage the learners to finish school and study further as they have all the opportunities and bursaries are available. When we were young, we never had the same opportunities and had to work to help raise our families,” she says.

Due to their good relationship with Evan Petersen, principal at Athwood Primary School, the NHW is active in the school as well as the community.

“The best part of our partnership with Petersen is the annual event on 16 December when we feed and entertain 500 kids from the community on the school premises. This is the prelude to putting the learners into a festive mood,” Cupido says.

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