Minister’s visit breeds hope

2018-11-13 06:01
Department of Social Development MEC Albert Fritz during his visit to Beth Uriel - House of Light recently.

Department of Social Development MEC Albert Fritz during his visit to Beth Uriel - House of Light recently.

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Residents at a local home for young, previously disadvantaged men were left pondering a future with opportunities after a recent visit by minister of social development, Albert Fritz.

Fritz visited Beth Uriel – House of Light in Salt River two weeks ago, to celebrate the annual National Children’s Day.

People’s Post previously reported (“Opera star performs for disadvantaged boys”, 12 September), that Beth Uriel has been running for more than 30 years to give young men another chance in life.

The home houses 26 young men aged between 18 and 24 and provides meals and other basic needs for them.

“Our aim is to help these young men to achieve independence through four key areas: A safe home; education; life skills and job readiness, and family reunification,” the home said at the time.

Beth Uriel’s coordinator, Melvin Koopman, last week confirmed Fritz’s visit.

He said: “There were some really positive opportunities and partnerships that the minister mentioned, for us in the future, which we will certainly call upon when that time comes, especially in the line of employment – making the youth aware of the different arts in our city and possible internships in the minister’s office for guys that are interested.”

Koopman praised Fritz for interacting with the residents and even enjoying coffee from a local coffee shop.

“He really took his time and stayed almost two hours and enjoyed the red cappuccino from the coffee shop.

“Yes, I’m sure we will take him up on the offer for internships for the boys in the near future when the right candidates have been identified.

“The visit was very fruitful and the minister was quite relaxed and spent time engaging with the boys and telling stories of success about him and others he has been in contact with over the years,” said Koopman.

Fritz said: “It was incredibly heart-warming to hear of some of the stories of the boys at Beth Uriel. Each has chosen to be there, to improve their lot in life and to not let their circumstances define them.

“They have chosen education and personal growth over gangs and drugs. That’s all you could ask for any young person growing up in our province and country.”

He added: “I have asked that the director contact me directly if any of his boys have an interest in public administration, as their upliftment is the reason the Expanded Public Works Programme(EPWP) exists.”

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