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Safe space considered for ‘different’ youth
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Anti-bullying and discrimination non-profit organisation PWR Project seeks to create a youth centre where “queer” youth can go if they need help.

“The centre will become a safe space where youth from all backgrounds can come to for support,” PWR Project’s chairperson, Karl Hildebrandt, says.

He further says the eventual aim for this is to grow the already-existing Cape Town centre, situated in Richwood, by expanding it to other different locations across the country.

“Many communities are still under extremely and often radical conservative influences, but as time progresses so does the world and the mentality of youth.

“Thus, adolescents who know that they are ‘different’, who are brought up in unaccepting environments, are susceptible to discrimination, isolation, depression and in dire circumstances, suicide.”

If plans for the youth centre are successful, Hildebrandt says it would ideally be located in Century City.

“Century City is somewhat of the ‘hub’ for youth in Cape Town and many surrounding areas. Its location is also ideal since it is easily accessible via the MyCiti bus terminus, which is situated in a relatively safe area.”

Research which will determine whether a centre of this kind is highly needed is still underway and Hildebrandt requests the public to participate.

“The aim has never been one of exclusivity, as we understand that bullying and discrimination is a plague that has touched people of all ages.

“The questionnaire is targeted primarily at individuals under 30, but we encourage anyone with an interest or connection to the queer community to contribute, as a broader scope of data will further our mandate and live up to the ‘outreach’ aspect of what we do.”

He explains that the response from the public has been overwhelming. Once the research process is finalised, the next step will be efforts to raise funds and connect to other LGBT-centric organisations.

“Our next step is to begin fundraising efforts, and simultaneously connect with LGBT-centric organisations as we seek to build the brand and ideal up; and will need to ‘outsource’ our counselling and motivational talks.

“We hope to identify recognisable icons that will not only draw attention, but also showcase how relatable the queer struggle in modern-day society can be.”

PWR Project runs a feeding outreach that benefits underprivileged communities across Cape Town including Kraaifontein, Delft, Kalkfontein, Belhar and Parow Park among other northern suburbs.

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