Cape Town - Against a backdrop of income and food insecurity, overcrowded municipal flats, backyard dwellings, gangsterism and crime, a community and youth development organisation aims to give Parkwood residents a sense of purpose and hope for a better community.
Rise Up started as the hard lockdown took effect, with its impact starkly evident.
Its founding chairperson, Abduragiem Adams, 31, reflected on the circumstances around the organisation's formation from April to June 2020. Adams lost his father, shootings were rampant and sporadic, and the lockdown had taken its toll on residents.
The sports, recreation, community and youth development organisation has just secured premises, a vandalised space, which it is slowly rehabilitating to provide a safe space and support services for the community.
“Our goal is to rid the youth of gangsterism by saying, ’when you get to that stage, you don’t have to follow that’. That shouldn't be your role model. Let's alternatively route you to something else.”
He is also the chairperson of the Parkwood-based Southampton Football Club.
“I thought to myself, I had over 116 children, what is going to happen to them at this time? They are already coming from poverty. So we started the organisation to give that aid and (a) soup kitchen,” said Adams.
With around 30 members, Rise Up has facilitated youth development programmes, clean-up campaigns, soccer tournaments and anti-gender based violence campaigns, among others.
“Instead of going to wish for a place out there to be a better place for them, let's create this place so that it becomes better for everybody who follows. The kids who are out of school, standing on the corner, we are targeting those kids who are not completing school and don't have a purpose on the road, but they are good at sports. Now we utilise it during the week and we empower them. It's changing perceptions and giving responsibilities and maturing people,” said Adams.
“If you, for example, take a dagga smoker, and you feel it shouldn't be a part of your life, and we give you the opportunity, so that you cannot afford to utilise the time to stand on the corner to smoke that pill, we give you that time to do something different. Now they’re not smoking any more, they’re too busy to do that.”
Despite extensive fund-raising, financial assistance is needed to create a safe and accessible space for children to engage with educational material and sport, at its premises.
“If I’m going to fail this, I’m going to fail an entire generation of possible commanders in police stations, attorneys, lawyers, judges, doctors, nurses, (and) veterinarians. I am failing kids that want to learn but don’t have the benefit around them because of the situation that they are in…
“If we don’t save them, we don’t have a future. It’s chaos outside and we’re fighting endless battles, day and night, to try and save a portion of our youth, so that they can see what tomorrow brings for them.”
According to the City, the estimated 2019 population figure for Parkwood is 11 835.
Historically, the area served to house families displaced by the apartheid forced removals.
To donate towards building materials, educational materials, or the soup kitchen, contact Adams on 068 212 9098.
The Cape Argus Starfish project aims to help encourage young people to steer away from crime. The project offers a platform for individuals and organisations to tell our readers what they do to empower the youth, and to share their knowledge. Email us at [email protected]