Starfish Project: Local organisation empowers Belhar youth
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Cape Town - The prevalence of gangsterism that comes with shootings and drug dealing in Cape Flats communities is no secret, but a local youth development forum from Belhar is doing all they can to uplift and inspire change in youngsters there.
The Belhar Youth Development Forum (BYDF) was officially established with the goal of keeping the youth of Belhar safe and on the right track in 2017.
The forum's founding member and secretary, Cathleen Du Plessis, said their youngsters had the potential to become the future leaders of their community by staying in school and learning that there was more to life than the shooting and drug trade, that is constantly prevalent.
Du Plessis said the forum was able to gain free use of the Belhar youth centre twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There they run their after-school programme, where they assist youth with school assignments, life skills training, arts and crafts workshops as well as games.
Thanks to their sponsors, BYD also managed, over the years, to take the youngsters to the Iziko Museum, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Table Mountain for the Heritage Day celebrations. They hope one day to visit Robben Island and other heritage sites around the province and hopefully the whole of South Africa.
The organisation also prized their talented female soccer team that played under the banner of Bellstar United and competed in the Northern Suburbs Local Football Association Ladies League.
“With Covid-19 preventing us from our normal programmes, we embarked on the creation of a youth community peace garden with the aim of occupying small open spaces which are normally used by the community to dump their rubbish.
“Our first garden is in front of Perseverance High School and our second in Alberta street, where youth come out, clean up and bond with nature,” said Du Plessis.
The organisation is currently seeking donations from the public of food for their soup kitchen, garden equipment, arts and crafts equipment, school stationery and second-hand clothing.
* Anyone wanting to make a contribution to the organisation can contact them via WhatsApp on 071 877 0440 or their Facebook page, Belhar Youth Development Forum.
** This piece from part of the Cape Argus’ “Starfish Project“.