Athlone High School, joined by non-government organisations (NGOs), hosted a Human Rights Day walk in memory of all the young people who have lost their lives through violence.
The walk, from the school in Calendula Road, to the Nantes Park in Bridgetown, was held on Human Rights Day, Thursday March 21.
Principal Vincent Hendricks said the walk was also about raising awareness. He said many of the pupils at his school had been victims of robberies either on their way to or from school, as some of them used public transport to get there.
The issue of safety and security was highlighted when the Essa Moosa Trust Foundation started a bursary fund to benefit underprivileged pupils at Athlone High.
“The foundation wants to plough back into Athlone High, and part of that is securing the safety of our pupils,” Mr Hendricks said.
For this reason, the school teamed up with an NGO called Youth Trax. Carol Brandt from Youth Trax said wanted to provide a safe environment for all pupils.
“We provide security for the pupils, with the help of security companies. Durant Road and Klipfontein Road have been earmarked for more visible security,” said Ms Brandt.
After the walk, the group gathered at the Nantes Park to share a few words of encouragement and listened to singing by Athlone High music teacher Morne Hannies and Grade 9 pupil Lucian van Wyk’s playing guitar.
Ward 49 councillor Rashid Adams, said there were many challenges in the community, but that all hope was not lost.
“I have been asking myself what is making our children so angry that they feel it is okay to commit criminal acts. I’m speaking to a number of people with the hope to start a programme for young people, and we can use Athlone High as a test mode. When the time comes, we are going to call on the community’s support.
“Let us forget about pointing fingers and work together for the common goal. Our children already have so many challenges, and we must make it safer for them,” Mr Adams said.