Violence, drugs affect rich and poor

Twenty volunteers completed training courses in domestic violence and substance abuse. Here Ward 60 councillor, Mark Kleinschmidt, is pictured with the recipients at the certificate hand-over ceremony.

Domestic violence and substance abuse are not exclusive to underprivileged areas – they can affect anybody, no matter where they live.

This was the message from a group of volunteers who completed an advanced leadership training course, which dealt with domestic violence and substance abuse.

The 20 volunteers, who are mostly women, received certificates from Ward 60 councillor, Mark Kleinschmidt, on Thursday June 7.

Part of their training involved engaging the community, and they went on walk-abouts and door-to-door in Lansdowne, to inform people where they can get help if they are affected.

This activity made the volunteers known in the community, and since then, many of them have been approached for help. Although they are not trained counsellors, they do refer those reaching out to them to institutions that can help.

Margaret Adhikari, from Lansdowne, said she found the training course very informative.

“I have had a lot of people who came to me for help. I referred them to organisations that could help them. I enjoy talking to people, and I’ve heard a lot of stories from the community. We can all relate because sometimes we go through the same, or we have family members in the same situation. People got to know about us because we did an awareness campaign as part of our training. We went door-to-door to hand out pamphlets. Now when I go to the shop, people remember me and stop me to ask for help. This training and the work that comes from it, is very rewarding,” Ms Adhikari said.

Anne Driver, who is also from Lansdowne, said drug abuse remained a challenge in her area.

“The training taught us a lot. There is still a lot that needs to be done in the area when it comes to the scourge of drug abuse. I hope we can do more in the future, because dealing with an addict is not an easy task. I am happy that I was able to help a friend’s son after I did the training. The challenge with drug addicts though, is that they must be willing to kick the habit themselves. If they are not committed to making the change, then rehabilitation will be futile. They must want to help themselves,” Ms Driver said.

Mr Kleinschmidt said drug abuse in the Western Cape has become an epidemic.

“We need to address the issue as opposed to being in denial. Parents must watch their children, and look out for the tell-tale signs. Parents must also be responsible when it comes to consuming alcohol. Alcohol abuse is also a challenge. Another challenge in our community is bullying. I have requested that all the recipients of the certificates today make themselves available for safety patrols at our schools. I envisage for this training to become part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). They have been upskilled now, and are currently doing the work as volunteers. The majority of them are unemployed, and if this programme can help them earn an income through the EPWP, then it would even be better.

“Already, the course attendees have availed themselves to Groenvlei High to help pupils exposed to robberies en route to school and bullying,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

Schools and organisations requiring assistance may contact the Ward 60 Office on 021 762 4894 or 021 400 3309 or email