Keeping the faith

Claudia Allison.

Knowing what it’s like to be in a cramped room and share an outside bathroom with the neighbour, all that she hoped was to one day give her children everything she didn’t have.

One thing she did have, however, and that she was sure to pass on to her children, were the good values and morals taught to her and her siblings by her parents.

She attended Heideveld Primary School and when she was 13 years old, her family moved into a two-bedroom house in Bridgetown.

When she turned 20, she started working in the municipal rental office in Hanover Park and has been in the industry since, albeit working in different areas.

At the age of 24 she got married to her high school sweetheart and had three children. She now stays in Silvertown.

Living in an an area plagued by drugs, crime and gangsterism, said Ms Allison, made it essential for her to do all she could to ensure her children did not get caught up in these social ills.”I’ve seen young children getting married and they don’t equip themselves. The norm is coming into the rent office and asking if they can put structures in their parents’ yard, which needs to stop,” she said.

She believed that part of the current problem is that many children have no ambition to do better and that parents need to ensure they provide structure for their children and equip them for the future.

The mother of three said no matter the circumstances, the greatest inheritance that parents could give their children, was faith.

“It’s not about houses and material things; it’s about faith and character.”

When asked what her motivation was to keep her children grounded, she said: “I’ve worked in the areas and seen how the youngsters are running around with guns. They have so much disrespect and no more honour for their parents. (Before), so-called gangsters had respect for people, now they don’t.”

Reflecting on the 30 years she has spent working with families, she said what she treasured most was the opportunity her job gave her to build relationships with people.

Over the years, she said, she had seen how people became homeowners and described as “priceless”, the look on the faces of people who are given houses after they’ve been on the housing waiting list for many years, sometimes as long as 25 years.

Ms Allison added that what she had learnt was that most children in Hanover Park – and on the Cape Flats in general – were raised by their grandparents who used all their pension to make ends meet. “This makes me very sad because God has given your children to you to look after and it is your responsibility to look after them,” she added.