Volunteer groups’ efforts recognised

AFM church pastor Miriam Basson gives a certificateto Stanley Swartz from Breaking Barriers Community Organisation.

Volunteer groups serving Bokmakierie and Hazendal have been honoured at a special ceremony.

The Bokmakierie/Hazendal Neighbourhood Watch, Nurul Islam Gadat Jamaa, Bokmakierie/Hazendal Uplifting Developments, Hazendal Soccer Club, EST Academy, Hazendal Sporting Club and Breaking Barriers Community Organisation received recognition for their work.

Community activist Walter Daniels, who organised the event at the Bokmakierie Primary School on Saturday October 31, said it was important to laud those who served their communities, expecting nothing in return.

“It is very important to have these organisations within the community so that we can uplift our community through these social programmes.They are great role models to our children. Because of things like this, our children arrive at school safely, have after-school programmes and can learn a trade after school.”

Michael Hanekom, safety coordinator of the Bokmakierie/Hazendal Neighbourhood Watch, said the watch had brought calm to an area that had been rife with gang violence.

The watch patrols in the mornings and evenings when people go to and from work. It also patrols when children walk to and from school.

“The area is much more peaceful now,” he said.

“We work together with SAPS, the City and our residents to keep the area safe, and because of this we no longer lose our young people. Our residents support us and they have hope in our organisation.”

Breaking Barriers Community Outreach was started five years ago by Stanley Swartz to teach adults sewing and welding and provide free internet access.

Mr Swartz said people who learnt a trade had a way to sustain themselves.

“I saw a need for this in the community. There are men who knew nothing about welding, and now they can make gates or burglar bars. It’s not just adults, youngsters also come. They can make a living out of trades like this. If you know how to use tools or you learn how, you will be able to make anything. From scraps you can make anything.”

The organisation’s feeding scheme gives porridge to about 100 adults and children, Monday to Thursday, and a warm lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays.