A Hanover Park resident is hoping to change the lives of youth on the Cape Flats by empowering them with skills and pampering them.
The 22-year-old hopes to do this through the Birch Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation in process of being registered.
Shaaiqah Birch said she noticed a need for skills empowerment as many of the youth needed something to do with their time instead of hanging out on the street corners.
She said after graduating from a hairdressing course at the Youth Impact and Sustainable Solutions (YISS) non-profit organisation in August this year, she wanted to give back to the community.
YISS is based at Crystal Secondary School in Hanover Park and was established to decrease the amount of unemployment; drug and substance abuse; crime and gangsterism; teenage pregnancies, youth imprisonment and school-drop outs.
The projects are interactive, with participants being exposed to business, technical training and skills development, entrepreneurial de-
velopment, employment readiness preparation, career guidance, sports, life skills, home visits and opportunities designed to give insight to the candidates when making career and employment choices.
On Saturday September 15, Ms Birch hosted her first pamper session for 10 girls from the community who had their hair and nails done.
She said the girls each also received a sanitary pack including: a toothbrush; a bar of soap; a wash cloth; and a pack of sanitary towels or a toy.
“They need a safe place to enjoy themselves away from all the gang violence. We will also be teaching them how to play soccer, netball and basketball.
“They didn’t want to go home on Saturday because they enjoyed themselves here so much,” she said.
Her mother, Nadeema, who cooked the food to feed the girls on Saturday, said her daughter had her full support.
She said the new venture has been welcomed by the community as it is much needed.
“The children are our main priority. It is always something that my children wanted to do. It is not nice to see what is happening in the area to our children,” she said.
Shaaiqah approaches schools in the area who refer underprivileged pupils to the foundation.
“I prefer to do it at home because it is unsafe to do it outside due to all the gang violence. This is a safe space,” she said.
The organisation is funded through donations from the community, family, and friends.
“People have really come on board with donations for the pamper bags, and nail polish, food and goodies for the kids as well as clothing. They really need this, someone to take care of them and just do their hair and make-up and nails,” she said.
The pamper sessions will be hosted twice a month and are open for girls and boys aged 6 to 12 years old. For more information, call Shaaiqah on 078 176 0400.