Cape Town youth empower themselves and their community
Mustadafin Foundation’s core focus for 2016 is centred on youth development and education. With their unique programmes and hands-on approach, the Foundation empowers youth living in dire circumstances to better themselves; to become self-sufficient and self-reliant citizens. Over 400 young people aged between ten to 25 years old are taking this mantra to heart by initiating their own social upliftment awareness programmes in seven areas of Cape Town, tackling the communities’ social ills. These areas are: Kewtown, Manenberg, Delft, Tafelsig, Montrose Park, Hanover Park and Khayelitsha.
Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director of Mustadafin Foundation, says, “This year our Youth Day theme is ‘educating human beings how to live with other human beings.’ Our aim is to bring awareness about the importance of proper education. Youth are reminded to make conscious decisions to change their lives and that above all things, education comes first.”
“The youth of today are tomorrow’s leaders and they are demonstrating it through their own awareness raising activities,” mentions Johnstone-Cassiem. Activities include: distributing Youth Day messages and pamphlets; taking part in placard demonstrations to raise awareness against social issues; assisting with feeding schemes at old-age homes; pampering senior citizens; cleaning the roads; and entertaining children with arts such as drumming, face painting, self-defence training sessions and karate.
“It is incredible to see such a positive change in the youth on our programme, many who have been exposed to unemployment, drugs, violence and gangsterism on a daily basis. Several of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and with the on-going Isibindi programme in Tafelsig, we have witnessed something truly special. We have seen them taking ownership of their lives, they are starting to be proud of their accomplishments,” adds Johnstone-Cassiem.
The Isibindi programme teaches children to let go of their fears and focus on the positive. Programmes are introduced for positive reinforcement. “One little boy mentioned that he wants to be a lawyer one day. Another conquered his fear of water when we took them for surfing lessons – it is all about constructive activities,” explains Johnstone-Cassiem.
The Foundation began its social outreach programmes on 01 June 2016 as part of Child Protection Week and will continue to do so up until Youth Day. The first awareness programme saw youth, Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and Isibindi learners doing placard demonstrations in the Delft, Sherwood Park (Manenberg), Khayelitsha, Montrose Park and Tafelsig areas, with the theme: ‘Stop child rape, kidnapping and abuse’.
“All of this could not be possible without our dedicated team. Our aim is to continue to create awareness on challenges our youth are faced with and arm them with the necessary tools to make their lives a success,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.
For more information about the Foundation and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit www.mustadafin.org.za or contact 021-633-0010. Mustadafin Foundation is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/MustadafinFoundation.