Cape Town - A mother’s loss of her son to gang violence has inspired the establishment of the Alcardo Andrews Foundation (AAF) which seeks to achieve peaceful and safe communities without gangsterism.
Avril Andrews, who named the foundation after her son, says it also seeks to honour all other young men who have lost their lives gang violence.
The foundation organises various programmes addressing gang violence, substance abuse, unemployment, poverty, domestic and gender-based violence.
Andrews said before he passed, Alcardo was desperate to bring about change in the Hanover Park community and often engaged with the gangsters and young people in the area with the hope that they would mend their ways.
AAF spokesperson Lesley Wyngaard said the foundation was a catalyst for change in local communities subjected to social ills through their Moms Move for Justice programme and their Fatherhood programme which provided psycho-social support and parent training of children that have experienced or lost their lives to gang violence, crime and gender-based violence in Hanover Park.
Wyngaard said their youth programmes (including art, dance, skills development and hiking) and food project were also instrumental in assisting traumatized and vulnerable youth, families, the broader homeless, vulnerable sections of their community and neighbouring informal settlements.
“Our community has struggled with gang violence, poverty, gender-based violence, domestic violence, fatherlessness and all other social and economic ills for many years and its effects have amplified the rapid growth of gangsterism and the school drop-out rate. The issues are being addressed in our programmes and we are currently seen as a beacon of hope for vulnerable youth,” said Wyngaard.
AAF founding director Avril Andrews said: “We are in a position to make a difference and I could not stand by and watch and do nothing about the challenges in our community. I want to acknowledge my family, staff and volunteers for making a difference in society and to be a positive influence, especially for our youth who are exposed to drugs and gangsterism.”
Mark Rossouw has been working at the organisation for almost three years and after standing in their feeding queues while struggling with drug use, he said he was able to turn his life around with the help of the foundation and become a permanent member of the AAF and its community work.