The Parow and Northern Suburbs Western Cape Street Children held a sub-forum meeting on Thursday 7 March. The meeting, which was held in Bellville, was attended by members from Badisa, the Western Cape Street Children’s Forum and the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID).
The members present highlighted issues about the increase of street children in the northern suburbs. There has been an increase in day strollers in Wallacedene and street children who beg at CapeGate in Brackenfell and at Parow Centre.
The members raised their concerns about street children with learning disabilities, street children who are runners and children who come from gangs. Often these children come from neighbouring areas like Leonsdale, Ravensmead and Elsies River into Parow.
The members said that they want to work hand in hand with the parents of these children to get them back home and back into school, but that there are not sufficient resources.
They highlighted issues such as parents that are not involved enough and a lack of transport.
Bijou Bakole, the facilitator who works at the El-Theos drop-in centre in Parow, said street children come to the centre three days a week, Monday’s Wednesday’s and Friday’s from 10:00 to 14:00.
Bakole said of the 25 children who regularly visit the centre, 12 are now sleeping back at home while six have returned to school. Bakole highlighted the difficulties of getting these children back into school after they have been exposed to drugs and have fallen behind in their school work.
“Eventually we want the centre to be like aftercare for the children,” she said.
Bakole said the aim is to reintegrate the children back into their communities and get the children permanently back at school.
The street children do not only come from Parow and Bellville but come from the surrounding areas like Elsies River, Ravensmead and Leonsdale.
Bakole said she would love to run her programme for longer because these children need a safe place to go after school.
“We need a venue where children can come to after school for longer hours because their current venue can only be used for a few hours.
“We also need food for the children,” she says.
Bakole said they want to help children after school to keep them off the streets and away from drugs but their current venue is not ideal as they can only use it for a limited time.
If anyone would like to contribute in any way, send an email to Wilma Piek at Wilma.Piek@vrcid.co.za
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