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Lavender Hill project goes beyond feeding scheme to give youth hope

Ralph Bouwers, a Lavender Hill resident who lived in the UK has secured funding from the UK to build recreational facilities. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

Ralph Bouwers, a Lavender Hill resident who lived in the UK has secured funding from the UK to build recreational facilities. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 29, 2021

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Cape Town - A Lavender Hill community project that aims to develop young people has served 2 million meals this year to fight food insecurity in the area.

The 2 million meals is part of the feeding scheme by the Guardians of the National Treasure, which serves people in the Lavender Hill community and surrounding areas.

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CEO Ralph Bouwers said while the organisation puts a lot of effort into the feeding scheme with 26 operations, this is only a means to get young people involved in other activities as an incentive.

“We don’t want to just feed people and then they walk off and sit on the corners. We want to transform and uplift these people by creating sustainable plug-ins by getting youngsters away from drugs, gangsterism and teenage pregnancy,” Bouwers said.

They also provide youth with other activities. “These youngsters have nothing, there is no facilities and no sport so I’m creating those with tennis, cycling, netball, rugby, chess and gardening.

“We also look at life skills when they come for these activities to work on their core values,” Bouwers said.

He added that kids are able to join these activities and get fed at the same time, this also creates an expectation with their parents because they know there is an incentive when they participate.

“These kids have a full calendar to look forward to which interrupts the pattern of doing nothing. A young boy who is in the rugby club becomes excited to be on the team – his attitude changes, his mind changes, he wants to become the captain, he wants to aspire towards small steps and goals. They get chores and duties and responsibilities in their involvement,” said Bouwers.

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Community worker Pastor Francis Isaacs said he has seen a real change with the youth who have participated.

“The feeding scheme has made a big difference in Lavender Hill this year, but not only for feeding, the kids are being kept from the street with sport. As a community worker I’ve seen that these are the right people to help the community.

“Lavender Hill is not an easy place to live in, and this has made a real change. I’ve noticed the hard work that they put in and the effort they put in has done good,” Isaacs said.

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