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Julie Hide quit her job in real estate to take on the task of teaching children about crime.
The idea of starting MAD Pups, which educates via talks at schools and community functions, came to her while she was waiting at a red traffic light.
“I was sitting at the robot and wondering: ‘Would my children know what to do (in case of crime)?’ and I couldn’t answer that,” she says.
So Hide got in touch with Penny Steyn, who runs the project Make A Difference (MAD), which educates domestic workers and gardeners about crime.
Steyn has been working with the SAPS for several years and was able to advise Hide about course material and ensuring that everything she planned to teach the children aligned with the facts.
The project began in June and Hide says she has already visited many schools.
“I felt passionate about this – this can’t be a sideline thing, I need to throw every waking moment into this project.”
The talk, which is aimed at children aged six and up, lasts about an hour and half and children are encouraged to ask questions.
Although some people may question the value of telling children about crime, Hide says they have questions in any case and know crime is happening.
“Rather let them get the right information rather than the wrong information. The workshops are designed to make children feel empowered rather than fearful,” says Hide. “As a parent I would not want to do anything to scare a child – it can be done in a way that’s not scary.”
Some of the information imparted is a correct understanding of the need to ask others for help, whether that be nearby adults or by calling an emergency number.
The emergency numbers are broken down and explained to the children, along with how the call centres and dispatches work.
Each child is given an information sheet to complete with their parents.
It has emergency telephone numbers on it and information that can be given to a police officer in case of an emergency. Every child also receives a Velcro identity bracelet.
For more information on MAD Pups, contact Hide via Facebook.com/madpups, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 083 677 1402.