Crystal Place in Hanover Park was a hive of activity on Saturday January 30, when the children from the area were treated to an annual street party.
Organiser Shamiela de Villiers said this is her fourth event, where part of the road is cordoned off to make space for children to forget about their hardships, and just have fun.
“I started this street party for underprivileged children three years ago, where they take part in modelling, dance, singing and soccer games. Today, about 60 children are part of the event, and the day is all about having fun. Every one of them will be receiving a small gift or a trophy. It is open to all children, not just the children who live in Crystal Place. I do this all out of my own pocket. However, this year, a friend of mine sponsored 60 boerewors rolls. I love children and I love to do this – so many of them don’t know what it is to be receiving a gift.”
Apart from the fun activities, Ms De Villiers also uses the day to teach the children valuable life skills. The focus this year was on missing children. One of the activities involved children walking with posters to highlight the many children who are missing across South Africa. The children were educated about how to keep safe.
Ms De Villiers feels so strongly about the well-being of children, that this mother of four, who is a chef, even resigned from her job, a she wants to work with children full-time.
“I feel that I have so much to offer children and there are children who need me. I have already been approached by someone in the community, to help four youngsters get off drugs. I have done some enquiries about rehabilitation centres, as I really want to help them. I’ll do this for any child – they must also be committed though, and prove that they want to make a difference in their lives. For me, it’s all about the children. A smile on a child’s face brings so much joy to me,” Ms De Villiers said.
Resident Elizabeth Links said the day was a good family get-together.
“Hanover Park is not just about gang violence. It is important to spend family time together, and this event provides the perfect opportunity for that.
“It also helps to keep the children busy in a positive way. Maybe if parents spend more time with their children, we’ll have less gangsters roaming the streets,” Ms Links said.