Cape Town - Despite servicing a community torn apart by gang violence, poverty and unemployment, a local community-based youth organisation, the Restoration Youth Development Programme (RYDP) is hard at work trying to turn the tide for the younger generation of Scottsville residents.
A Scottsville resident whose life’s mission is to extend hope from one family to the next remains in his community looking forward to further establishing his organisation which for the past decade has worked as a safe space for the community’s youth.
For Terrence Crowster, Scottsville is more than poverty, gangs, drugs, violence and crime. Crowster in 2007 registered the RYDP as an organisation that would empower youth in Scottsville offering them an alternative space to the violent neighbourhood they lived in.
The community of Scottsville falls under the City's ward 111 and is home to over 35 000 people, and unlike the other areas it, shares the ward with is the more unsavoury side of town.
“When I first started RYDP it was just a music group, but I saw the need to do more. It was as if it was my calling to build something bigger than I had imagined a safe space for the youth in my community. I wanted to give them hope for the future and show them that life isn’t as black and white as they see it,” said Crowster.
“Yes, it has been hard, and over the years we have struggled through some tough times but we always work to get back up. I can’t imagine what it would do to the kids if I were to give up, so fear is not something I entertain. I work on courage and strength from seeing the difference we make for the children we work with.”
RYDP which has made a name for itself in Scottsville is not only an organisation but has several sister initiatives that fall under its umbrella, among them an impressive makeshift library, known as the Hotspot Library which is the community’s first and only library within distance.
According to Crowster, the library is also home to other sister initiatives run by RYDP, such as mental health campaigns, self-defence classes, the base for volunteer tutoring, feeding scheme projects and back to school stationery drives.
Recently, Crowster expanded the library’s premises in hopes of better catering to its members, all 700-odd literacy champions who the library works to uplift, positively groom and educate.
“I wanted to show the youth that there is more to life than what they see when they look outside. Yes, our community has a lot of social issues, but that’s not all that we are and I wanted to show that to them.
“I still work full time to be able to afford the expenses we need at RYDP. My dream is to have funders and sponsors come on board with us and work to give these children something more than what they have at hand,” said Crowster.
For more information on how you can positively impact the lives of children in Scottsville, contact Crowster on 083 469 4013.
** This piece from part of the Cape Argus’ “Starfish Project“.
Through our Cape Argus Starfish Project we want to identify and amplify those voices in our most distressed communities who help keep young people away from crime.
Like the story of the starfish, it is about helping to save those we can. If our project resonates with you, the Cape Argus offers a platform for you or your organisation to tell your story.
We invite non-political community groups, NGOs and individuals to share with us what they do to help turn young people away from crime. Join the Cape Argus Starfish Project by emailing your full name, address and contact details to [email protected]