Pastors making a difference in Bonteheuwel

Christon Easton, 11, from Bonteheuwel, received a wheelchair.

An 11-year-old girl with spina bifida is finding it easier to move around after getting a wheelchair from a group of clergy who are determined to make Bonteheuwel a better place.

Christon Easton was just a few hours old when she had surgery for the spinal birth defect.

So far, she’s had seven such operations, and, until a week ago, walked with crutches, which, according to her mom, Natalie, had left her exhausted an in pain.

The wheelchair was donated by a group of pastors, the Bonteheuwel Outreach Network, and ward councillor Angus McKenzie presented it to Christon on Sunday October 13.

The Bonteheuwel Outreach Network was formed in June last year. Its chairman Sanele Ndlovu said they wanted Bonteheuwel to once again be a place free of gang strife — a community where people helped one another.

The pastors hold prayer sessions against crime and gangsterism on the Cape Flats and they pass on information about illegal activity and social problems to the ward councillor. They meet weekly to discuss possible solutions to the neighbourhood’s problems — murder and gangsterism top that list, said Mr Ndlovu.

“Our main concern is the killings in and around the area and how gangsterism is affecting the communities.

“It affects children: the way they act, the way they sleep, as they cannot sleep properly when they hear gunshots. While it is safe now, the children are mentally and emotionally scarred. What are they learning? How will they grow up? “They cannot go to the shop or play freely and must be indoors during the day and at night,” he said.

The organisation worked closely with the police to maintain peace in the area and also handed out food parcels to the poor, he said.

For more information, call Sanele Ndlovu on 078 498 3835.