Crawford adopts a more caring approach

NABEELAH MOHEDEEN

The Crawford Civic Association held a Community Care Day in Kromboom Park on Thursday March 31, where people heard about the importance of looking after their health and safety and enjoyed a morning of entertainment.

The Department of Social Development, RLabs, Athlone Chess Club, Safeline Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Centre and Diabetic 101 were there.

Joan Leukes, the civic association’s chairwoman and the programme’s coordinator, said a survey by the association late last year found that there was little for children to do or places where young people could go in the area.

“We realised that we needed to bring in other service providers, such as the park which has been mainly used for negative elements, and become unsafe. Therefore we felt we need to show how it can become safe with us all rolling up our sleeves and participating,” Ms Leukes said.

“This was planned in December last year and the community took money out of their pockets to fund this. It took us lots of begging, and also we asked the councillor for support and a church support group to see that we have tables and chairs. The apples were donated by someone who took pity on us because we had nothing to give the children. I feel ecstatic about the outcome of this day. The community knows now who their neighbours are and that there are activities, education, health and safety for the children to become part of,” she said.

Nicole Martin, a community development worker at Safeline Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Centre, taught the children about safety during the holidays.

“We find that in the holidays children are left on their own because parents have to work so often the younger children are left with older brothers or sisters. We talk to children about keeping safe during the holidays, and we explore body parts to find out if children know where their private parts are.

“Often, younger ones are not always aware about how many private parts they have, and if something happens to them or sexually abuses them they are not able to testify about what has happened. We speak about good and harmful substances as well as about dangerous objects and alcohol dangers,” said Ms Martin.

“I think that today was a great initiative and there should be many more. They have balanced it out with information tables and also fun for the children because children learn through play. People are able to find out where they can get help and often communities have to pay for services which is taxing on our people,” she said.

Former Grade R storyteller Carol Matthews, from Athlone, said children should be kept occupied during the holidays and storytelling was a good way to do just that.

“It’s a pleasure to be here, because I feel safe and there is so many people around me. The children were very enthusiastic to listen to the story, which was all about safety, how to behave in public, how to behave in the car, how to say no, and the colours of the robots, how to be visible at night, where to skateboard and how to do it without getting hurt or hurting others. This event is good; it brings the community together, and the council can now see that we make use of this property,” Ms Matthews said.

Grandmother of eight, Kulsum Mohamed, from Greenhaven, brought two of her granchildren, who are spending the school holidays at her house, to the park. She was surprised to see the different organisations at the event and was happy to see the police there.

On Friday April 1, Graham Collison, chairman of Kromboom Park Facilities Management Committee, opened an outdoor gym, newly built by the City of Cape Town, to the public.

“Not too long ago, the garden in Kromboom Park underwent an upgrade and this indigenous feature has given a new lift to an area of the park that was formerly overgrown with bush and wild grass. The community of Crawford welcomes all to use the park and enjoy the benefits that the City has afforded us, “ said Mr Collison.