Helping kids at risk

2018-02-20 06:00
Anton Borez from Eksal with Grassy Park police sergeant Rank? Carol Strauss and warrant officer Wynita Kleinsmith. PHOTO: aishah cassiem

Anton Borez from Eksal with Grassy Park police sergeant Rank? Carol Strauss and warrant officer Wynita Kleinsmith. PHOTO: aishah cassiem

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A 33-year-old ex-offender, previously from Grassy Park, is using his knowledge and skills as an athlete and fitness trainer to educate and uplift underprivileged children from across the Cape Flats.

Anton Borez, who founded Eksal in 2015, says through his non-profit organisation and with the help of Grassy Park police, he aims to help and inspire youth to cultivate their bodies through the love of sports and fitness. Borez’ programmes include various beneficial and fun-filled activities which assist youth in the physical, psychological and social development of their lives.

It also focuses on motivational talks and Q & A sessions at schools, youth gatherings and churches by promoting awareness for healthy lifestyles and exercise structures.

“I started this project a few years ago and it has grown to a point where I now need bigger premises to accommodate all these kids. It is in partnership with Grassy Park police, where we go out and work with kids through various programmes that help them develop into contributing and responsible members of society,” he says. He says social development and the police approached him a while ago and saw the need for the project in Grassy Park. “My past is the reason why they (the police) approached me. I made really bad choices in life and decided to turn it around through what I am doing today. I thought: ‘Let me take my story and take it to the police, by giving back to them (police) by starting a non profit organisation, and by using my structured programmes to get kids away from drugs and gangsterism’.”

With poverty, crime and drugs being a widespread problem in his community, he says there has always been little done to help youth develop their bodies. “Most of our people are not educated on the importance of keeping their bodies healthy. They don’t have the exposure on this issue like I and many others do. I am privileged to have been exposed to inspiring individuals like Professor Tim Noakes. Once I started following in this healthy path, I could see the change in my body, while also investing in the industry. I have been active for 28 years now and even have personal classes with clients. There are enormous long-term benefits of a healthy active lifestyle and how it works on our physical and psychological development.”

Youth in the community are not the only individuals to benefit from the much needed Eksal programmes, officials from Grassy Park Police Station will also soon find themselves sweating to keep fit.

Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says: “There are a lot of our people at the station who don’t have the time to go to gym. We are about 20 members, and with this programme in mind we aim to get them on board. With this [we also aim to] get the partnership between the community and police growing, by doing the activities together as one.” 

"This man came to my office one day and started talking about uplifting the community. He grew up in this area and has a great passion. I want to uplift my community and with his assistance we can steer our youth away from bad things. With the partnership going we also plan to have an aftercare to keep kids off the streets. We want to show them there are much better things to get involved in, like body building and sports, and with this, by also giving them guidance and awareness programmes.”

Meanwhile Borez urges locals to come forward with support to grow the organisation. “We need the community’s support to drive these programmes for their kids. We are keen to show them the effect of this programme and will appreciate it if they can embrace it. We are prepared to go out and get funds and are currently looking for a venue to accommodate all these kids, even if we have to pay for the venue.” 

This year, the group’s services will extend to bring on board a broader range of South African celebrities and professional sports people to further the group’s reach. Borez is currently in the process of writing a book on his life and has been approached by a TV production company for a series too.
V For more information visit www.eksal­.org.za

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