There's haven in Happiness Street

Cape Town - It's a haven in Happiness Street where the children of Wesbank, near Delft, can be happy again.

It’s also here that you will find Hilton Davids, who has dedicated his life to keeping children off the street and out of harm's way. He started and runs the haven, which has educational hubs for about 80 children.

Davids started initially in his own home nearby, where he cared for over 100 children. 

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FOR THE KIDS: Hilton Davids, a community worker from Wesbank near Delft, has developed an outreach programme to keep the area’s children in school and off the streets. Picture: Tracey Adams

“Then I noticed the space was getting a bit small, and I saw the vacant plot just down the road. There were gang members there doing a lot of negative things. I approached them and gave them an idea of what I wanted to do. They realised what I wanted to do would benefit them and their children, and they left,” Davids said.

The vacant plot belonged to a Mose Jacobs, who wanted to build a church there. Jacobs also wanted to do more outreach work in the community, however due to lack of funding the building of the church could not be completed.

Jacobs died in April 2009 and made his son-in-law Reuben Kadalie the executive of the trust. Over time the site became dilapidated and was left in a bad state and became a hot spot for gang-related activities.

Davids approached Kadalie to use the premises. “My father in-law was passionate about this community and it became a way of life for us,” Kadalie said.

"The area is plagued by gangs who steal the resources of the place," Davids said.

"The reason why I do this is because my father was not always there for me and used drugs. That gave me the drive to do what I do, so that I can show children that there is help for them.”

Through this outreach programme he hopes to develop the children of the community and motivate them to stay off the streets and in school.

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