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The Science of Scale for Violence Prevention: A New Agenda for Family Strengthening in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Dear friends Marie Curie said: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” With more understanding around the COVID-19 pandemic we can adjust, we fear less and we are achieving more. Since my last newsletter in April 2020, a lot has happened and we have made several adjustments to our services so as to be relevant and still deliver an important service. Education facilitators were able to distribute schoolwork to children in the community during April. They also supported children with homework where possible. Natalie, our high school facilitator was involved with her high school learners. She did a lot of research to help with homework and assignments. Mentors and education facilitators helped prepare for the opening of schools. They also covered books for the different teachers. Our Aftercare and Food Manager, Chantal is working hard juggling between planning meals for the soup kitchens and coordinating the preparations for re-opening of the aftercare. Roslynn is currently visiting 3 moms in Wilderness Heights and 5 mothers in Touwsranten for the Mamma-Baba programme. Sheridan visited 4 mothers before she went on maternity leave. Please welcome Jaye to the Seven Passes family. She was born on 15 June 2020. Parenting facilitators are visiting parents at their homes and are doing individual sessions. We had the following numbers for April, May, and June 2020: Prente-pret (Book sharing) – 54 participants Gelukkige Familie Omgeeprogram 2-9 years (Sinovuyo Kids) – 15 participants Gelukkige Familie Omgeeprogram for Teens (Sinovuyo Teens) – 1 participant Shila and Linda are also continuing with the Gelukkige Familie Omgeeprogram (2-9 years) on WhatsApp, for parents who attended at Mandalay before lockdown. Youth Development: The education facilitators, two staff members and a volunteer finished the LifeLine Personal Development training. We are proud of them and grateful to LifeLine for providing this training. Together with a new volunteer, Marius Andrews, mentors are working closely with facilitators to help them set goals and work on self-development strategies. Marius also works with the facilitators on an individual level. We are grateful to have him as part of the team. We have continued with the food support through the different soup kitchens in the community in collaboration with Hoekwil Rates Payers Association, VGK Church, Die Vleie Dutch Reformed Church and George Municipality. We have received a lot of support from individuals as well as Rotary George who regularly donated food and other supplies. We want to thank everyone who has been part of this initiative. Thousands of people received food since lockdown level 5 was announced in March 2020. A special word of thanks to Laurell Pelser from the Hoekwil Rates Payers Association who was actively involved with the process and offered lots of support and hard work. We will stop with the food provisions and distributions on 14 August 2020. We will re-open our aftercare for children on Monday 17 August 2020 and will continue to provide food for the children and parents who attend our programmes. George Municipality will continue with the soup kitchens. We are working on our vegetable garden in an attempt to produce our own vegetables. The vegetable garden was neglected during COVID-19 because our gardener, Oom Klong, is older than 60 and therefore high risk. All staff members work in the garden now. (Some have greener fingers than others 😊) HELP NEEDED PLEASE: We urgently need financial support to fix our Wendy house that was blown over during the storm on Saturday 27 June 2020. It will cost us R15 000 to repair it. We realise that COVID-19 affected numerous businesses especially restaurants and hotels who traditionally support our organisation’s golf day but if there are any businesses and individuals who can play in and support our golf day in November 2020, we would be so thankful. FINALLY …….. Thank you all for being involved and for caring, especially during these difficult times. We thank you for supporting us in our efforts and helping us to grow in the process. – Wilmi and the Seven Passes Team
“In preparing for battle I have found that planning is essential, but plans are worthless” – Dwight D Eisenhower. In my previous letter I said I would give you regular updates on the new “normal” for Seven Passes which is changing constantly and is making planning difficult. Today we distributed 180 of the last 220 food parcels. With the help from Rev. De Mist we will distribute the rest on Thursday. We decided a week ago that we would not hand out food parcels anymore. The whole community is struggling and vulnerable and to distribute 220 food parcels created a lot of anger and frustration. SAPS was present last week and today to help keep tempers in control when we handed out the parcels. We have since decided to focus again on providing meals. This way, ALL people from the community will be able to receive a meal and not just specific families. We are working in collaboration with Hoekwil Ratespayers Association, VGK Church and the George Municipality’s soup kitchens in Touwsranten to provide soup at three different locations in the community for 5 days a week. The soup kitchens will hopefully provide meals on the weekends as well. Touwsranten Primary will continue to provide meals to children twice a week. I cannot give an update on our financial situation now but I will give feedback after April, when we will have an idea of the cost to produce soup for 500-800 people per day. It is a new venture for all of us. What I can say is that we are grateful to have money available to provide these meals, thanks to each and every one of you who contributed. We are also very grateful for help and support from Hoekwil /Wilderness /Rondevlei and Touwsranten residents who are willing to help make the soup. We are continuing with education support to primary and high school learners. Staff members are making and distributing games that parents can play with their children. Our parenting programmes are continuing on WhatsApp groups and with individual support. We are still making and distributing masks to members of the community. Our support and care for each other is an example to other communities. I am proud of the unity that we are creating. Thanks again for being part of the solution. Every act of love counters the fear
Youngest library user at 8 months GEORGE NEWS – Tiana Arries, an 11-month-old…
Dear friends Life can be simple and beautiful. Focus on the good things – Maxime Lagacé. That is exactly what we plan to do with this report – to focus on the good things that happened during the second quarter of 2019. It has been a very busy time and here are some highlights: We had 333 children attending our services. For the first time ever we had 97 high school learners who attended in May ‘19. We believe one of the reasons is the lovely Natalie Mentoor, our new high school facilitator who joined our ranks. She loves working with the young people and they love spending time with her. Two of the matric learners applied to study Social Work at North West University and are awaiting the outcome. More learners attend the Maths after school classes which is very encouraging. Again thank you to the wonderful Tannie Dalene. We delivered a successful holiday programme which the facilitators and mentors planned. We also had CRC church and Elrina Fourie of Kinderkinetika who helped with different programmes during this time. A big thank you to those people who reached out to the children during the holiday programme. Kaylee Ann Buys (Blommie) was promoted to mentor education facilitator. She worked hard to earn the promotion and we are very proud of her. She is an asset to the organisation. Soezie was employed as a mentor in the beginning of June ‘19. We are very proud of Soezie’s growth. It is reassuring to see where she came from and the responsibility she takes on now. She is very creative with her programmes and she is making an impact on the children in her group. The parenting department recently employed two new staff members. Linda Mondile and Shila Ntenetyana started working on Monday, 3 June 2019. Roslynn and Sheridan attended the Parent Infant Programme Training in Cape Town for 2 weeks. Dr. Mireille Landman and Blanche Rezant were the trainers of this programme. 15 mothers are currently part of the Mamma-Baba (Thula Sana programme). They are receiving visits from Roslynn and Sheridan in Touwsranten, Wilderness Heights, Lancewood and Tura Kina. The Sinovuyo Teens programme was completed in May ‘19. Four families completed the programme. They’ve reached their goals and are still using the concepts. Sheridan and Natasha completed rollout 12 of the Sinovuyo Kids on Thursday, 9 May 2019. The programme ended with three remaining participants of whom one is a male. They reached their goals and are thankful for the influence the programme has on their lives. On the 18th of April ’19 a report by the ISS was launched about the Afterschool Gamechanger as a violence prevention programme. We are grateful that the report was launched in Touwsranten. There were representatives of SAPS, George Municipality, Touwsranten and Lancewood Primary, the ISS and church leaders present. A wonderful opportunity was created for better co-operation between Seven Passes, the Afterschool Gamechanger team and SAPS. Investec paid for the kitchen to be remodelled and they donated a jungle gym to our organisation. The staff of Investec donated food, clothes, toys and other valuable items to us. Thank you Investec for your incredible support. You better the lives of these children! We were invited to represent Seven Passes at the Afterschool Gamechanger Symposium in Cape Town on 7 & 8 June. It was a wonderful event and again we created opportunities to work together with other organisations in future. As a result, a partnership between ourselves and the Department of Culture and Arts is a great possibility. We will have more wonderful, real-life success stories in our annual report that will be distributed on 30 July 2019. Please make a note of our Annual General Meeting – 30 July 2019 at the Touwsranten Community Hall at 7pm. You are all invited to attend. We will be sharing the exciting outcome of our four year research study with the University of Cape Town and The Institute for Security Studies. HELP NEEDED PLEASE: • We urgently need businesses or individuals who will sponsor a child for 2020 – R180 per child per month. • We need all your second-hand clothes and homeware to sell on our Market Day that will be held on 1 December 2019 at 7am at the D&M shop. FINALLY …….. Thank you all for being involved and for caring. We thank you for supporting us in our efforts and helping us to grow in the process. Wilmi and the Seven Passes Team
Dear friends Jackson Brown Jr, author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”, said: “The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more”. That makes us extremely happy and in the first quarter of 2019 we had many happy moments that I would like to share with you. We were delighted to have received a visit from Sweden’s Queen Sylvia on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 along with members of the board of her World Childhood Foundation. The Foundation is a funder and a supporter of our organisation. The Queen was given a tour through the community which ended with a conversation with parents and teachers. She also visited the Touwsranten Primary School and spoke to its excellent principal, Robert Draai, played with the children, and engaged with parents who have participated in the Seven Passes’ parenting programmes. The school works very closely with us to ensure that children in Touwsranten are well cared for and are able to realise their potential. Britney Adonis (13 years old), participated in Bloemfontein in the Free State Open Fencing Competition in the Under 17 category. She won three out of five of her poole rounds. She beat a girl who won a bronze medal three weeks ago at the Junior African Championships and she also beat a girl (who is 2m tall), who eventually received the silver medal. In effect this means that Britney beat the gold and silver medal winners in the poole rounds. She lost in the elimination rounds 8-15 but showed a lot of determination and a fighting spirit up to the end by using all possible techniques and tactics to try and earn points. This competition was only Britney’s third national competition while the other girls have been competing nationally for 2-3 years. She shows marked progress from one competition to another and she has moved up in the national rankings from 19th to 12th place! We are so proud of what Britney has achieved and a huge thank you to volunteer, Susan Agrella for guiding her on the way. Jenny Foster with the help of Melanie Groves gave computer lessons to high school learners during the March holidays. The youngsters really enjoyed the classes and learnt a lot. Maaike and other volunteers helped with our March holiday programme. The children enjoyed the activities immensely. Our Afterschool, Life Skills and Education programmes are underway. We had 341 children who attended in January ‘19, of which 62 were high school learners. 13 mothers are currently participating in the Thula Sana (Mamma-Baba) programme. These mothers reside in Touwsranten, Wilderness Heights, Lancewood and Tura Kina. Thank you to Roslynn and Sheridan who are working hard to visit these mothers regularly. For the months of January – March 2019 we have delivered two Book Sharing programmes, Sinovuyo Kids and Sinovuyo Teens. We were invited to take part in the Wilderness Arts Festival, held on the 16th of February 2019. Our Drummies were asked to perform and they started off by a march from the garage to the open space in front of the Wilderness Hotel. There the Djembe Drummers entertained the crowd with their awesome musical skills and sounds. The Seven Passes creative group also showed of their arts pieces that they have created in the arts and craft classes presented by Maaike, one of our volunteers. HELP NEEDED PLEASE: • We urgently need our own building or funding towards a building. • Financial contributions to attend the Afterschool Gamechanger Symposium in Cape Town and Infant Attachment Training Opportunities in Cape Town. • We need all your second-hand clothes and homeware to sell on our Market Day that will be held on 1 June 2019 at 7am at the D&M shop. FINALLY …….. Thank you all for being involved and for caring. We thank you for supporting us in our efforts and helping us to grow in the process. – Wilmi and the Seven Passes Team
Investec donates generously to Seven Passes Initiative GEORGE NEWS – In 2018 the George branch of…
Parenting classes make a difference GEORGE NEWS – Parenting does not always come…
Sweedse koningin bekoor tjokkertjies in S-Kaap Koningin Silvia van Swede se liefde vir kinders en plante het duidelik deurgeskemer tydens haar blitsbesoek aan die dorpie Touwsranten tussen Hoekwil en Wildernis in die Suid-Kaap. www.netwerk24.com
Hi Everyone It is with a grateful heart that I write this last newsletter for 2018. What an exceptional year it has been! Coming to the end of 2018, I want to share some of the highlights with you. We celebrated our 10th birthday on Saturday, 3 November 2018 in Touwsranten. The day was wonderful. All the childrenand families who attended, enjoyed the fun and games. They especially loved seeing and interacting with the actress Mimi Mahlasela, known for her role of Aggie Ngwenya in the soapie 7de Laan, who was the guest of honour. We had a very successful golf day and we raised R168 000!! A very big thanks to all the golfers and sponsors who made this day a huge and wonderful success. As always we thank our board members who helped and supported this effort. Also a huge thank you to Peter Leppan. Without his help and support, the golf day would not have happened. We have also received numerous other donations from individuals and groups such as the Open Gardens Group of Hoekwil. We want to thank every person who contributed to our important work. During 2018 we reached 89 families with the parenting programmes. There are countless success stories of families communicating and connecting better with each other. To view some of these successes, please click on the link below. https://www.sevenpasses.org.za/news-media/videos/ We will start with our third and last community survey at the end of January 2019. The number of high school learners who attend our after-care have risen. We are very grateful that so many young people attend the programme and make use of the computer centre. We are also continuing with the reading programme and thanks to the help and commitment of the reading volunteers we are helping specific children. We offered the following training opportunities to staff and facilitators during 2018: Sinovuyo Kids – Clowns without Borders First Aid and Health and Safety – 4 Front Consultants Persona Dolls – Kim Andreoli Men Care – Sonke Trauma Counselling – Karen Ritchie & Rasada Goldblatt Personal Development – Life Line Move-It – Eda Greenway – Regional coordinator – Move-It Moving Matters Life Skills – Semona Diener & Kim Andreoli The well-known artist and photographer, Chris Daly made a promotional video for the organisation. Please watch this beautiful video which explains without words what we are all about. We had an exceptional Christmas party and around 300 children from the rural area received presents, individualised certificates and snacks. Thank you to Jenny and Rebecca for the buying and wrapping of the presents. Thank you to all the sponsors who contributed towards presents. We also thank Linda Tacke for ALL the cupcakes and Cecile from Indwe who sponsored and printed the certificates. Thank you for your involvement, care and love that we have received during this year. Without you Seven Passes would not be able to deliver the services we do. Our offices will close on 14 December 2018 and reopen again on 7 January 2018. We will deliver an exciting holiday programme from 13 December – 4 January. I hope that this Christmas time will be special for every one of you. May you experience love, peace, joy and lots of quality time with family and friends. Warm regards Wilmi and the Seven Passes Team
Hoekwil Open Gardens donate generously GEORGE NEWS – The 2018 Hoekwil Open Gardens,…
This project aims to inform policy on violence prevention and aggression, and will improve the lives of children. It will also offer new insights to the World Health Organisation’s Parenting for Lifelong Health project that promotes evidence-based parenting programmes in developing countries.The Touwsranten project is part of a broader effort by the ISS and UCT to address crime and violence through parenting support programmes that the state can implement nationally. In 2014, their efforts contributed to parenting support being included as a policy priority for the Western Cape provincial government. The ISS and UCT also helped the provincial government to develop a high-level implementation strategy and budget for parenting support across the province.‘The safety and happiness of many South African children is undermined by violence in their homes and communities. We believe parents can develop positive, non-violent skills to help them keep their children safe in and outside of the home’, says Chandré Gould, senior research fellow at the ISS.The project involves a variety of activities, from establishing a community-based ‘brand’ of positive parenting, to delivering evidence-based positive parenting programmes. If the approach is shown to be effective, the project will offer a model for similar projects in other communities in future.
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Time is not measured by clocks but by moments. During the first quarter of 2018 we had many wonderful moments and we would love to share some with you. We received funding from Edcon in the beginning of February. With this funding we are able to expand our services to the nearby community of Wilderness Heights and improve the quality of the services that we deliver to the children and families of Touwsranten. We have employed 4 new staff members: 2 parenting facilitators, a life skills coordinator and a high school facilitator. We were also very fortunate to receive funding from Pathcare to employ 4 education facilitators that will act as mentors for the EPWP education facilitators. These new education employees will start on 2 May 2018. The new parenting facilitators have received training in Sinovuyo Kids and -Teens as well as Book Sharing training. The senior parenting facilitators received supervision training in all of the above. We have done a sucessful roll-out of Book sharing. Two caregivers with two children finished. We are currently delivering Sinovuyo Kids to parents from Wilderness Heights community and and to a group of parents from Touwsranten. Above are some of the parents of Wilderness Heights practicing the principles of Sinovyuo Kids. We are also continuing with our Mamma-Baba programme. Here is Shanita with baby Junaid. The number of children who attend our aftercare have increased. We are very grateful that so many children attend the programme. For this past quarter we had 72 high school learners and 410 primary school learners who attended. With the help of wonderful donors, the Seven Passes could assist needy parents and caregivers with school uniforms, books and stationary. The education staff have received Sinovuyo training. They have also received Move-it training. Move-it focuses on the holistic development and we are doing that with Grade 4 learners. We still continue with the reading programme and thanks to the help and commitment of the reading volunteers we currently have 16 Grade 4 learners in the extra reading group. Thembinkosi, our new life skills coordinator, designed a life skills program with the help and support of fellow education staff. This programme will focus on specific life skills and take the four pillars of education namely education, arts and culture, sport and lifeskills into consideration. HELP NEEDED PLEASE: We urgently need our own building or funding towards a building . Financial contributions to attend the 4 afterschool care workshops- and training opportunities in Cape Town. We need help to set up our jungle gym and to do necessary work on it. FINALLY …….. Thank you all for being involved and for caring. We thank you for supporting us in our efforts and helping us to grow in the process. Wilmi and the Seven Passes Team
Jet partners with the Institute for Security Studies and the Seven Passes Initiative to expand primary violence prevention programme
On 11 Oct 2017 Jet, the discount division of Edcon, announced a three-year, multi-million Rand commitment to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Seven Passes Initiative to support the implementation and scale-up of interventions shown to reduce and prevent violence. Edcon General Manager: Transformation – Sustainability, Enterprise / Supplier Development and CSI, Elelwane Pahlana, said: “Personal safety is a key concern for all South Africans, and especially low-income single mothers, who are amongst the most vulnerable and suffer the highest incidence of personal violence . We all need South Africa to be the best place in the world to raise a child. Family is the core of the economy and we believe that an investment in mothers is an investment in the future.” Part of the initial investment was used to fund the National Violence Prevention Dialogue Forum meeting, that was held in Touwsranten on 11 & 12 October. The Dialogue Forum bridges the gap between academics and NGOs who have developed and tested violence prevention programmes, and the practitioners and officials who are responsible for providing services to clients in communities around the country. The Seven Passes Initiative is the beneficiary of Jet’s investment and will use the funds to strengthen the programmes offered to high school and primary school children in the afternoons and during the holidays. The parenting programmes will also be extended to include the nearby community of Wilderness Heights, where the organisation has not worked before. Wilmi Dippenaar, Director of the Seven Passes Initiative, says: “When we started our programmes 10 years ago there were no graduates in our community. We started with nine children attending our homework classes. Today more than 430 children come to our programmes every afternoon, there are 10 young people who have gone on to university, and many more who have enrolled at FET colleges.” Naizel Buys, Chair of the Seven Passes board, was one of the first young people to come to the homework classes. She is now a qualified teacher and teaches Grade 4 at the Touwsranten Primary School. She plays a key leadership role in the organisation and the community. “The unacceptably high level of violence in our country is destroying the fabric of our society,” says Ms Pahlana. “Innovative solutions are required to solve the problem and we are honoured to be able to help. South Africa is a special place and we will not stand idly by when it is within our power to make a difference.”
GEORGE NEWS – The Seven Passes Initiative in Touwsranten is excited to be working in conjunction with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) during 2016 in providing four programmes to promote positive parenting within its community. The focus of these programmes will be on the four stages of a child’s life, starting with pregnancy through to the teenage years. “The programmes will therefore play a crucial role in helping parents and children to form a warm, loving bond as well as teaching constructive communication,” explained Wilmi Dippenaar, The Seven Passes Inititative director. The project, with funding from the World Childhood Foundation, will operate in the community of Touwsranten. It will determine if a community-driven public awareness campaign, combined with parenting programmes, will improve parenting and promote child safety across the whole village. “These kinds of partnerships, which bring together policy research organisations, academic institutions and organisations that implement programmes, are essential to developing interventions that actually work,” said Catherine Ward, associate professor at the Department of Psychology at UCT. “The challenge is to determine how to take programmes that have been shown through testing to be effective, to scale.” The Touwsranten project is part of a broader effort by the ISS and UCT to address crime and violence through parenting support programmes that the state can implement nationally. In 2014, their efforts contributed to parenting support being included as a policy priority for the Western Cape Government. The ISS and UCT also helped the provincial government to develop a high-level implementation strategy and budget for parenting support across the province. “The safety and happiness of many South African children are undermined by violence in their homes and communities. We believe parents can develop positive, non-violent skills to help them keep their children safe in and outside of the home,” explained Chandré Gould, senior research fellow at the ISS and CEO of The Seven Passes Initiative. Gould hopes these parenting programmes will have the same positive effect as other Seven Passes initiatives have had. “We have noticed that the youth on youth violence in our community has reduced after we set out to address the problem by training homework facilitators from within the community. The homework programme enabled the youth to recognise their own value.” The project involves a variety of activities, from establishing a community-based brand of positive parenting to delivering evidence-based positive parenting programmes. If the approach is shown to be effective, the project will offer a model for similar projects in other communities in future. ARTICLE AND PHOTO: FRAN KIRSTEN, CORRESPONDENT
GEORGE NEWS – Three exceptional community service minded Georgians were acknowledged for the outstanding work they perform in educating and uplifting the poorest of the poor.The George Rotary Club awarded its prestigious Paul Harris Recognition to Phillip de Vries of Life Community Services, Wilmi Dippenaar of Seven Passes Initiative in Touwsranten; and Heather Church of the Garden Route SPCA on Tuesday 22 November. Rotary president Di Kershaw said George is extremely fortunate to have the three recipients as residents. “You have unselfishly committed your lives to ensuring that those most vulnerable in the community, children and animals, receive the best possible chance of a brighter future and better quality of life.” Daleen Rowe, a Rotary volunteer, was also presented with a Paul Harris Recognition for her commitment in assisting Rotary members in organising many of their successful events and charity drives. Rotarian, and past president Michael Tacké, received the Paul Harris Sapphire Recognition. Tacké, a past Paul Harris Recognition recipient, was again acknowledged for his commitment to the upliftment of the community. He was the driving force earlier this year behind the R600 000 upgrading of the intermediate care section ward at the Bethesda Hospice in Rosemoor. Kershaw said Rotary is proud to be associated with those who give their time to the community so freely. The recipients of Rotary’s prestigious Paul Harris Recognitions with Rotary president Di Kershaw (3rd left) are from left: Rotarian Daleen Rowe, Heather Church (SPCA), Phillip de Vries (Life Community Services), Wilmi Dippenaar (Seven Passes Initiative) and Rotary past resident Michael Tacké who received the Paul Harris Sapphire Recognition. Photos: Myron Rabinowitz. ARTICLE: MYRON RABINOWITZ, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST ‘We bring you the latest George, Garden Route news’
WILDERNESS NEWS – The ‘Samewerking vir ‘n beter gemeenskap’ group hosted a child and youth festival on the Touwsranten sports field on Youth Day, 16 June, attracting over 700 people from Touwsranten and the broader rural community. The purpose of the project was to encourage positive relationships between children, their parents and elderly community members. “By encouraging these relationships, we aimed to actively involve parents in activities. The intention of the day was to give children the opportunity to play and have fun. Enabling children to do so allows them to create happy memories, especially those living in difficult circumstances,” says Wilmi Dippenaar, director of the Seven Passes Initiative. The day was supported by several role players in the community: the Saps, Community Police Forum, different sport clubs, Sonneblom Crèche, Youth on Fire, Twizza, Seven Passes Initiative and their Touwsrhythm drummers, Walking Bus as well as community members who individually volunteered as part of the ‘Samewerking’ (Collaboration) group. The party held on the day was funded by the World Childhood Foundation. Fun activities for the day included face painting, jumping castles, an entertainment corner, motivational speeches, drumming, cartoon characters, netball, soccer, a march with drummies through the community, dancing and boeresport. Furthermore breakfast, lunch and party packs were provided to everyone who attended. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it is hoped that great memories were created. The ‘Samewerking’ group sincerely thank the World Childhood Foundation for their unwavering support of their precious children.
Groei is ’n groot woord as ’n mens nog leer om te lees – ’n hele vyf letters! Groei is ook ’n groot woord in gemeenskappe en verhoudings – dit spruit stil-stil uit vormende verbintenisse en dra verrassende vrug. Dít ondervind die kinders sowel as die afgetrede grootmense van Hoekwil se leesprojek weekliks. ANNALISE WIID het een Donderdagmiddag saam met hulle gaan groei. Hoekwil is pragtig! Die klein dorpie in die Suid-Kaap lê lepel agter die groter, baie bekende Wildernis se rug. Skaars 5 km vanaf die N2, deur die vlei, en oor die rant, skuil die klein juweel. Hoekwil se dorp-hart het vier kloppende kamers, wat bruis van mens-aktiwiteit: In die middel staan die NG gemeente Die Vleie se kerkgebou. Weerskante daarvan is ’n groot aftree-oord en ’n bedrywige deli met vrolike bont vlaggies al om die stoep. En net oorkant die straat lag kinders op die laerskool se speelgrond. Rondom die dorp lê welige groen melkplase, natuurlike woude en denneplantasies. En effe opsy die woonbuurt Touwsranten. Magda van Zyl wag my verwelkomend voor die kerksaal in. Ek vra nie uit nie. Aanvaar sommer sy is die kerk se sekretaresse. Kom eers later my fout agter. Sy stel my voor aan Hans en Valerie Roux, die dryfkrag agter Die Vleie se leeshulp-projek. Ons herken mekaar dadelik. Het al vantevore ontmoet, toe Hans nog predikant was op Worcester. Dit gaan ’n lekker middag word … Binne wag klein tafels, elk met twee blou sagte sitplekstoele, reeds netjies en buite hoorafstand van mekaar gerangskik. In die saal, op die verhoog en in die klein vertrekkies langsaan. Die kinders gaan nou-nou hier instorm, sodra die skool uitkom. Intussen pak Hans prettige leesboeke voor op die verhoog uit. Hy groepeer dit volgens vlakke van leesvaardigheid. Van heel-in-die-begin se eenvoud, tot ’n bietjie verder tot nog ’n bietjie moeiliker. En lekkerder. Valerie sorteer papiere; pak potlode, skêre en plastieksakkies met woorde op ’n tafel uit. Die kinders word met ’n bussie aangery van Laerskool Touwsranten af. Die grootmense wat hulle met leesvaardigheid kom help, stap meesal sommer straat-af tot by die kerksaal. Almal is ooglopend bly om mekaar te sien. Glimlagte. Gretigheid. “Daar’s jou oom,” hoor ek ’n opgewonde stemmetjie. Hulle moes dit eintlik gesing het wanneer ons totsiens sê, maar hulle kan nie wag nie, het te lank uitgesien. Klaar gesing, gaan die grootmense en kinders saam verhoog toe. Die kinders kies self uit watter boekies hulle wil lees. Dan koers elke groepie na hulle eie tafeltjie toe en sit koppe bymekaar. Ek dwaal tussen hulle deur. Neem foto’s. Luister. Verkyk my: geduld en aanmoediging vat hande met leergierigheid en plesier. “Kyk,” beduie ’n vrou met ’n sagte stem, “die b se magie bult hierdie kant toe, en die d s’n staan daai kant toe, sien jy?” Een dogtertjie lê met haar kop teen ’n tannie se skouer en luister lekker terwyl haar maatjie voorlees. Party haak nog by baie woorde vas. Ander lees al feitlik vlot. ‘Ag nee, Oom’ Na ’n halfuur se saamlees, slaan een van die kinders die ghong: Kadwa! “Ag nee, Oom,” sê Hans se seuntjie, teleurgesteld. Die enetjie by Magda se tafel loer vinnig hoeveel blaaie van sy boek nog oor is. Kyk verlangend na haar. Wens hy kon dit nog gou klaar lees. Maar hulle moet groet; die bussie terug Touwsranten toe wag. En daar, by Seven Passes (’n plaaslike gemeenskapsontwikkelingaksie) se huiswerkprogram, wag sop en broodjies. Nadat die kinders weg is, koffie en koek die lees-helpers nog ’n rukkie gesellig saam. Die meeste van hulle is pensionarisse en lidmate van Die Vleie. Net twee is jongmense wat weekliks oorry van Wildernis af. Elke Donderdagmiddag van 14:00 tot 14:30 kom lees die grootmense saam met die kinders. Hans vertel: “Eendag het Wilmi Dippenaar van Seven Passes by die kerk kom praat oor hulle werk in die gemeenskap. Sy het genoem dat hulle ’n leesprojek vir laerskoolkinders begin het, en hulp sal waardeer. Toe ons vra wie wil help, meld 22 vrywilligers aan!” Dit lyk nie of een van die 22 spyt is nie. Inteendeel, hulle gloei behoorlik. Val mekaar amper in die rede om vir my te vertel hoe die betrokkenheid by die kinders hulle lewe verryk. En dis nie dat hulle lewe voorheen arm was nie. Hulle kom uit interessante beroepe en plekke. Maar die projek voeg op ’n besondere manier lewenswaarde toe. Vir Hans, die oud-predikant met die pastor-hart, is die betrokkenheid by die kind se lewe die beste: “Dit is so bevredigend om mettertyd die kind te sien oopmaak. Om te ervaar hoe verhouding ontstaan. ’n Mens leer ook sy omstandighede ken. My outjie het byvoorbeeld vandag vertel hy en sy ma het saam gepraat en hulle het besluit hulle gaan vir die goeie – hulle gaan ’n verskil maak. Dis wonderlik om sy vordering te sien.” Salmon Gerber is ’n gebore Olifantshoeker. So het Hoekwil toentertyd bekend gestaan, toe sy pa daar patatranke gekweek het. Vir hom is betrokkenheid by die leesprojek ’n “sielsaak”. Hy weet waar die kinders vandaan kom, sê hy. Hy wens net elke Donderdag daar was meer tyd. Dit is so positief om te sien hoe die kinders probeer. En groei. Soms sak enetjie weer terug. Dan vermoed jy dit gaan seker weer swaar by die huis. ’n Geroepenheid Willie Verwey, ’n oud-skoolhoof, en sy vrou, Rhea, glimlag oor die Touwsrantertjies. “Dis vir ons ’n geroepenheid om te kan help,” sê hy. “Wie van die kinders sou andersins vandag ’n halfuur gelees het? Hulle sou waarskynlik net gespeel het, of dalk kattekwaad aangevang het. Dit is wonderlik om te dink ons maak ’n belegging om die kinders se toekoms te verbeter. Ons leer self ook baie – veral van die bruin gemeenskap. ’n Mens kry mos nie altyd die geleentheid vir kontak met ander gemeenskappe nie. Nou geniet ons dit so. Dis lekker kinders dié!” Magda, wat ek met die ontmoet-slag as die sekretaresse aangesien het, is vandag vir die eerste keer hier. Afgetrede mense ry baie rond. Of kuier by hulle kinders wat ver woon. Hulle is nie vanselfsprekend elke Donderdag op die dorp nie. So was daar toe vandag te min vrywilligers om individuele aandag aan al die kinders te gee. Toe vra Hans of Magda se Bybelstudiegroep nie wil kom help nie. En daar kry sy toe die oulike seuntjie wat […]
Clowns Without Borders South Africa (CWBSA), an artist-led humanitarian organisation, arrived last week to facilitate their project ‘Our Story, Your Story’ (Osys) in primary schools and local libraries in George and surrounding areas. The project aims to increase community cohesion, cultural diversity, and personal empowerment by offering participants a platform to share their stories. This year, in partnership with The Seven Passes Initiative, Osys ventured outside of Cape Town to Touwsranten to implement a series of storytelling workshops. These workshops were presented by four young facilitators from The Seven Passes Initiative, trained in storytelling and facilitation. They captivated the school children with songs, lots of laughs and stories around an imaginary fireplace ‘created’ by the class.Inspired by the personal stories of the facilitators, and with a little help from some magical ‘story dust’, the young learners related their own stories. Teachers expressed their surprise at seeing shy children sharing their life experiences with increased self-esteem and confidence. The Osys project trained 100 local educators to integrate creative arts education into the school curriculum. Evans Scheepers, principal at Heidedal Primary, strongly recommended that all schools implement storytelling activities because of the many benefits he had seen.
Hi everyone There are SO many wonderful things to be thankful for at the end of this year. To name but a few: We had a very successful golf day and we raised R141 174!! Thanks to all who made this day a huge and wonderful success. Also a big thank you to our board members who worked hard. During 2016 we reached 63 families with the parenting programmes. We are grateful to the parenting facilitators who achieved this remarkable feat. Our thanks go to Cathy (University of Cape Town) and Chandre (Institute for Security Studies) who gave their all to this project. We had a lovely volunteer appreciation day that Cedrick organised to thank our volunteers. Our 71 volunteers help and support us in different ways. One of the programmes supported by 22 volunteers, is our reading programme. Children benefit in more ways than just to improve their reading. Thank you to all the “Ooms and Tannies” for their time and love.
http://www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/178158/Santa-Flights-bring-joy#.WFFBU2iRStM.facebook Santa and his band of merry helpers from five service clubs toiled away in the midday sun at the George airport on Saturday 3 December, organising the Santa Flights project for 95 excited youngsters. The nervous laughter in anticipation of their first flight in a small four-seater light plane, soon changed into delight when they touched down after a 15 minute flight over George. The Santa Flights project is the brainchild of Rotarian Rick Clutten, who was involved in a similar project in Manchester in the UK. “Bringing the idea to George six years ago was very challenging, as in Manchester we used one aircraft for all the children. It would be impractical and very expensive to hire a large jet to come to George and that is why we are thankful to the Flight Training College at the George Airport who supplied the three light aircraft that have made the dream a reality. “We want to create lifelong memories so that children who experience this party are able to carry the joy and uniqueness of the experience for the rest of their lives,” said Clutton. This year the children who benefited are from the ACVV Môreson Kinderhuis in Denneoord, Ruiterbos Primary in Mossel Bay, Herbertsdale Primary between Mossel Bay and Riversdale, the Seven Passes Initiative, Young Ambassadors Primary School and George South Primary. Kayla van der Merwe, a Grade 7 learner from George South Primary, was all smiles once she was back on terra firma. “It was a fantastic experience for all of us, something we will remember for a long time. Our big city of George actually looked quite small from up in the air,” said Van der Merwe. The service clubs involved in the project are the Eden Lions Club, George Round Table, George Rotary Club, Vryburgers and the Moths. The staff and students of the Flight Training College and Eden 911.
http://www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/173513/Hoekwil-Open-Gardens-in-October#.V_uBw56wVdE.facebook The fourth consecutive Hoekwil Open Gardens will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 15 and 16 October between 09:00 and 16:00. The event has been taken to the next level this year by including local musicians, artists and crafters who will perform or exhibit at various venues in the village. Hoekwil is becoming known as Eden’s Garden Hamlet, an area of intense beauty with magnificent views of mountains, sea and lakes. The open gardens range from funky to formal and succulent or fynbos to forest style. Tickets cost R40 per person and give access to all the gardens on both days. Tickets and route maps will be available on both days from the Hoekwil Post Office. For more information, contact Jenny on 082 497 3741 or Magda on 082 561 4784. The Open Garden weekend is presented in aid of the Seven Passes Initiative for children with special needs. Hoekwil Open Gardens is joining hands with the Seven Passes Initiative in support of their new venture in creating a garden with the focus on special needs children in Touwranten. Profits from the event will go a long way in achieving this much needed facility. The children will be kept busy and be able to enjoy a fun-filled fantasy garden while they are taught basic gardening skills.
https://www.facebook.com/1452269411690402/photos/a.1452302181687125.1073741828.1452269411690402/1772027753047898/?type=3 The Hoekwil Open Gardens committee of 2016 were delighted with the success and number of visitors who attended the Open Gardens, presented over the weekend of 15 and 16 October, in aid of The Seven Passes Initiative Rural Youth Development Project. This annual event was for the first time sponsored by Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty Wilderness and showcased twelve unique gardens in the Hoekwil area. The organisers were particularly pleased with the increased support of visitors attending the Hoekwil Open Gardens, from just over 100 tickets sold in 2013 to in excess of 400 tickets sold this year. The Seven Passes Initiative is a registered Non-Profit Organisation, which was established in 2008 by Peter Leppan and the late Jack Rubin, both well-known for their community involvement in the area. This community based organisation is committed to supporting and improving youth education, as well as preventing violence in Touwsranten and the area, through enabling youngsters in the community to recognize and realize their own potential. The long term goal of this initiative is to establish a safe environment in Touwsranten, for children of all ages, where they can learn basic life skills, as the majority of these children are unable to afford transport and education costs. Funds raised at the Hoekwil Open Gardens will be specifically allocated to establish a garden project for children with special needs and the Hoekwil Open Gardens Committee was proud to assist in the raising of R5000 from ticket sales, which was recently presented to Wilmi Dippenaar, director of The Seven Passes Initiative. Should you be interested in supporting The Seven Passes Initiative, please contact Wilmi Dippenaar on 044 850 1267.
Two new parenting projects in South Africa are yielding important results. Just over a year ago, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in partnership with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Seven Passes Initiative, began an innovative three-year positive parenting project in Touwsranten in the Western Cape. The project is testing whether four evidence-based parenting programmes can change the whole community’s approach to parenting and in doing so, reduce violence. The results of the research will inform policy by providing good information about the human resources and development required to provide parenting programmes. ‘This project is not about idealistic chatter but rather encompasses practical ways to truly improve the lives of people,’ says Wilmi Dippenaar, Director of the Seven Passes Initiative. ‘All the parties involved have a sincere desire to facilitate real change and are invested in ensuring positive results.’ The project promotes a positive approach to parenting, which should reduce child maltreatment, parental stress and, in the long term, violence. This work complements that of the World Health Organisation’s Parenting for Lifelong Health Unit (PLH). PLH is currently conducting randomised controlled trials of the same four parenting programmes in several countries in Africa and South East Asia. This project encompasses practical ways to truly improve the lives of people ‘The partnership between a university, a policy organisation and a community-based organisation is a powerful combination. We bring a range of networks, knowledge and skills to the table and we manage the process very carefully as a team,’ says Chandré Gould, Senior Research Fellow at the ISS. ‘I am not aware of any other research project that has done several waves of community-wide surveys about parenting, child behaviour and the effects of contextual factors, such as intimate partner violence, substance abuse, and parental health and mental health on parenting and child behaviour in South Africa,’ says Gould. As a result of the work in Touwsranten, the largest employer in the area – a commercial vegetable farmer – invited the Seven Passes Initiative to deliver the parenting programme to his staff during working hours. This enables the programme to reach working people, and the farmer views the parenting programmes as a long-term investment in his workforce. Workplace delivery of the programme is an innovation that may enable scale-up and new ways of engaging the private sector in violence prevention initiatives. One of the major challenges facing non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and the PLH is how to roll-out effective programmes to achieve greater impact. A second ISS project tackles this question. The dialogue forum has opened communication channels between NGOs, academics and government The ISS and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) established a dialogue forum in South Africa where academics and NGOs involved in developing and testing violence prevention programmes can interact with the government departments who have a mandate to prevent violence. The forum offers a platform for sharing information, building relationships and collective planning to realise the investments being made into programme evaluation. The dialogue forum has opened channels of communication between NGOs, academics and officials from the Departments of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Women, Social Development, Basic Education and the National Treasury. This has already led to the identification of gaps that hamper programme scale-up and which the forum will seek to address through effective multi-sectoral communication and planning. https://issafrica.org/impact/spotlight-innovative-projects-on-course-to-prevent-violence
WILDERNESS NEWS FLASH – The Seven Passes Initiative lent their much needed support to the past weekend’s Wilderness Lakes Football Association Easter Soccer Tournament. Twelve teams from across the Eden district joined in, with Mtata City (Sedgefield) walking away with the trophy. http://www.georgeherald.com/news/Sport/Football/75299/Sedgefield-team-takes-the-trophy
NATIONAL NEWS – Today, June 16, is celebrated annually in South Africa as Youth Day. Youth Day commemorates The Soweto Uprising – a series of high school student-led protests in Soweto that began on the morning of June 16, 1976. Students from numerous Sowetan schools protested in the streets of Soweto in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. An estimated 20 000 students took part in the protests, and roughly 176 people were killed. Youth Day celebrations in George Fun Sports Day The SAPS George, in collaboration with other organisations such as Badisa and the Seven Passes Initiative, hosts a fun Sports Day at Touwsranten’s sport ground and community hall. The events will start with a fun run at 08:00 after which the youth will be divided into rugby, soccer and netball teams. An obstacle course, board games and a dance competition at 19:00 await the children, aged between 5 and 15. Life Community Services’ mini-Olympics fun day Life Community Services’ mini-Olympics fun day will take place at their kitchen premises, corner of Main Road and Sandkraal Road, between 09:30 and 13:00. Fun games (jumping castle, races) and food will be the order of the day. An entrance fee of R5 for adults and R2 for children will be charged for visitors. Contact Life at 044 873 6601. KidStop celebrates Youth Day KidStop in Borcherds are celebrating their day with games and a talk about Youth day and the importance of youth, a discussion which follows on from the Kidstop camp theme, “My life, my investment.” The day runs from 12:00 till 15:00 and children between the ages of 6 and 18 years will be catered for. Contact KidStop at 044 875 1794 or Jonathan Gelderbloem on 082 687 2588. George Municipality Youth Day programme George Municipality presents a Youth Day programme at Outeniqua Park starting at 13:00. Mayor Charles Standers will address the youth while the Pacaltsdorp Brass Band and ‘Working on Fire’ will entertain the attendees. http://www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/29275/Youth-Day-Celebrate-our-youth
When my Life Orientation teacher at York High School announced our term project – Community Services – I instantly knew what I wanted to do. could walk a dog anytime, and I love the fascinating stories the older generation always has to share but no, I wanted to work with children. I wanted to go out into my own community, the Hoekwil/Wilderness area, and interact with the youth – the future of this country on a one-on-one basis. Immediately the Seven Passes Initiative sprung to mind, an NGO based in Touwsranten. With a focus on the youth of the community, they offer homework classes, hold holiday programmes and inter-alia assist with school guidance from their office in the heart of Touwsranten. Greeted by wide-eyed kids on both occasions, I was lucky enough to be with the Grade R’s and 1’s – sources of endless chatter, jokes, giggles and finger counting. From explaining sums of six and eight on fingers, complimenting some of the coolest abstract expressionistic art and falling totally in love with a charming boy reaching only to about my mid-thigh – it became more than a project for me. I worked alongside volunteers and immediately felt at easy, largely thanks to everyones warm nature and the jokes being cracked in the office! The environment within the office, and the classrooms, makes one realise that you are part of something bigger than two hours of homework classes. These classes, and the selfless volunteers and facilitators who run them, are changing these childrens’ futures. By offering these classes, they are helping them with their education, keeping them entertained and off the streets – ultimately changing the path they will take in the future. The meal supplied daily – of which there is never enough – is maybe lunch and dinner for some and is a brilliant incentive to encourage attendance. Not that the kids need encouragement, they willingly attend the Monday to Thursday classes. One only needs to see the tongues sticking out in concentration, the wave of pride when a compliment is bestowed or listen to the happy chattering any one of the classrooms to understand the importance of these classes to the children. Seven Passes has however, extended their involvement beyond the classroom; keeping children entertained through sports in the holidays and making the internet accessible for projects and assignments. My time at the Initiative broadened my horizons and tugged at my heart. I realised that I need to swallow my groaning about school – I’m fortunate enough to attend one where I receive all the guidance I need – to eat whatever my mom puts in front of me and to never stop giggling. Giggling was a constant, from the boys at my attempts at Afrikaans, to the girls laughing about me and my hair. Because the minute you spend time with those in different circumstances to you, you realise how good you have it, having lunch at home and that things like not walking to school is a luxury – I was questioned on this and more and learned that even girls in Grade 1 want to talk about their matric farewells. Got two hours free? Or some teddy bears you don’t sleep with anymore? I know some kids in Touwsranten who would love to let you into their lives or gladly adopt old toys. The Initiative always welcomes donations – in any form – or volunteers; it is community involvement that helps to sustain it. Contact them on 044 8501267 or email at email@example.com When asked to write an accompanying article about my experiences, I gladly agreed – my hope is that you, the one who wants to help but finds little time to even finish this article, will find your own manner in which to contribute. Because every action has a reaction and you might find that the smiles you receive are enough. They are for me. http://www.wildnews.co.za/assets/content-page.php?id=newsDet&A_ID=366#.Va-C-AGJc_U.facebook
GEORGE NEWS – The George Rotary Club has awarded its prestigious Paul Harris Recognition to three community service minded Georgians.Rotary President Di Kershaw was delighted to award Rotary’s highest award for community service excellence to Marzanne Cillie, the project manager for Bethesda Child and Youth Centre in Rosemoor, for her outstanding work over the past 10 years. The Paul Harris Recognition was also awarded to Peter Leppan, for the Seven Passes Initiative in Touwsranten that is helping the communities of the greater George area. The third award, the Paul Harris Sapphire Recognition, was made to Rotarian and past president Eddie Reppert. Reppert, a recipient of the Paul Harris Recognition in the past, is further affirmation of his commitment to the George community. He has been running a food project for the past 15 years, collecting food from Woolworths on a weekly basis and delivering the donations to various needy institutions in George. “Rotary is proud to be associated with these upstanding and committed people who give their time to our community so freely,” said Kershaw. http://www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/85230/Rotary-recognises-service-to-the-community
Karen Muller from Pathcare George (left) and Munne Schild (Seven Passes Iniative) hand over the first price to Gerhard Streicher. He and Pieter Botma (absent) outplayed 58 golfers to win the 4-ball better ball stableford Seven Passes Initiative Charity Golf day on Thursday 24 October. GEORGE NEWS – Besides the sometimes deafening noise of gun fire, stun grenades and other arsenal emanating from Outeniqua Park in celebration of the minister of police, Nathi Mthethwa’s visit to George, 60 golfers enjoyed a round of golf next door with only one thing in mind, to raise as much money for the successful Seven Passes Initiative. Seven Passes Initiative, in association with PathCare laboratory, hosted their charity golf day to support the educational development of children in Touwsranten on Thursday 24 October.The Seven Passes Initiative, a non profit organisation, currently tends to the needs of 80 primary and 30 high school pupils and is committed to building a safe community of opportunity for the children of Touwsranten and surrounding rural areas.Its intervention consists of three primary components: an after-school life skills activity programme, direct access to opportunity programme and developing positive parenting. This initiative plays an important role in developing life skills such as building confidence, self-esteem and improving parenting. It further assists school leavers to access bursaries, tertiary education and learnerships. It builds positive role models and challenges the normalisation of aggression and violence. Seven Passes Initiative also aims to develop the ability of young people to resolve conflict peacefully, to enable them to identify and access opportunities and facilitate improved communication between young men and women. A grateful Cedrick Buys, manager of the initiative said, “You make it possible for us to do our job.” A delighted chairman of Seven Passes Initiative and owner of Mandalay Farms, Peter Leppan, said, “Today was made possible through the generous support of several sponsors, especially our main sponsors Pathcare George. Pathcare Cape Town has agreed to match all funds raised here today rand for rand.” The golf day was won by Gerhard Streicher and Pieter Botma on a whopping 49 Stableford points. Dave Wedon and George Whitehead followed with 48 points and M van der Merwe and W Visagie took third place on a count-out with 47 points. During the prize giving Leppan awarded two Community Service Awards to both Phillip Kuske and Fanie Smit for the outstanding work they do for the Seven Passes Initiative. Several items were auctioned during the prize giving where Leppan reminded those present that R150 feeds 80 children for a day. Massimo Mariotti, from Salina’s Beach Restaurant Wilderness, outbid all with his R4 000 for a helicopter flip for three people. To end the day Leppan invited golfers to help themselves to fresh vegetables from the several crates that he had donated from his Mandalay Farms. The total raised during the Charity Golf Day was not known at time of going to print. http://www.georgeherald.com/news/Sport/Golf/64820/Golfers-help-Seven-Passes
Some of the children from the Seven’s Passes Initiative. A generous donation of stationery packs for all the children of the Seven Passes Initiative provided a happy start to their new year. The Initiative is a youth development and educational organisation that seeks to prevent youth involvement in crime through providing quality after school care. According to the project coordinator, Cedrick Buys, donations such as these are much needed and assist Seven Passes in their quest to improve the lives of the youngsters. “Thank you so much to the Value people for bringing joy to our kids. You have sown a seed and one day you will reap what you sow,” he told representatives of the company who made the delivery. Seven Passes presents homework clubs and regular educational activities, including sport, music and drama in their quest to towards long-term poverty alleviation through raising the educational level of the community. It is driven by a dedicated team of commercial farmers and community members from Hoekwil and Touwsranten. “We believe that education is key to overcoming poverty. The homework classes are offered to junior and high school learners every week of the school year. This is done in cooperation with students from Tsiba Eden Campus and adult volunteers in the area. Here children can come and do their homework safely while receiving assistance from adults,” said Buys. A computer centre established at the Touwsranten Primary School has become a sanctuary for high school students in the area. Here they can conduct research, do their school projects and learn the skills to equip them for the job market. Seven Passes also offers holiday programmes to give children the opportunity to play constructively while being supervised, and to showcase their talents such as sailing, line-dancing and acting. All this is made possible by the dedication of Cedrick and another staff member, Ryan Philander, as well as through partnerships with donors, the local business community and schools in the area. For more information, contact Cedrick at 072 727 8346. http://www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/3458/Seven-Passes-Initiative
The Keep Hoekwil Warm Project received a whopping 200 blankets. In front is Landon Crowther and at the back are school prefects Kailey Cronjé (far left), Danel Mulder and Chanté Le Roux (in the middle), who were also involved in the project, with some of the younger Hoekwil Primary School pupils. Photo: Henrica Veldman GEORGE NEWS – Landon Crowther (13), the head girl of Hoekwil Primary School, was acknowledged by the Seven Passes Initiative for initiating the Keep Hoekwil Warm project.According to Wilmi Dippenaar, of the Seven Passes Initiative, a non-governmental organisation in Touwsranten, they have decided to thank Landon on behalf of the community for starting the project by awarding her with a merit award. “To hand out so many blankets is a phenomenal performance that needs acknowledgement,” said Wilmi. The Keep Hoekwil Warm project, aimed at keeping the needy of Hoekwil warm during the cold winter days, was started in March by Landon with the help of fellow prefects to encourage a community knitting initiative. Landon only aimed to collect 20 blankets, but nearing the end of June a total of 200 blankets was received. These were handed out to the disadvantaged within the broader Hoekwil community. Landon is delighted about the award and thanked everyone who helped make the project such a huge success. http://www.georgeherald.com/news/News/General/141801/Head-girl-gets-award-for-warm-heart
The misty woods in the hills near Wilderness hold dark memories of violence. Ten years ago, unemployment, lack of interest in education and poor social conditions, compounded by alcohol and drug abuse, led to fighting between the children of labourers at various logging farms in the Outeniqua mountains. Domestic violence spilt into the streets and at least two farms experienced serious gang rivalry that regularly escalated into bloodshed. In 2007, farmers around the village of Touwsranten decided to intervene, and they began by approaching Dr Chandré Gould, a resident of nearby Hoekwil with an impressive record as a senior researcher in the Crime and Justice Programme of the Institute for Security Studies. “Most of my work over the past 25 years in one way or another has been about preventing or responding to violence, whether that’s interpersonal violence or state violence,” said Gould, who was also a researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “When I was approached by the commercial farmers it just made perfect sense for me to be involved in my own community in preventing violence and bringing whatever knowledge and skills that I have to bear. “It’s part of what I’d committed to generally. In most of what I have done I have regarded myself as an activist. I believe that positive change is possible and that individuals can help to make that change.” In 2008, she helped to set up the Seven Passes Initiative to tackle the outbreak of violence among young people, and today it has become a distant memory, replaced by stories of academic achievement. “If we are going to address violence – criminal violence and all other forms of violence – we are going to have to make homes, families and communities safer places for children,” said Gould, who wrote a book last year recounting interviews she had done with robbers, rapists and men who had spent most of their adult lives in jail. “All of the men I spoke to had experienced more violence in their lives than they have ever perpetrated,” she said. “Intervening early to support children’s cognitive development, life skills development and education is the best investment we can make in the long-term development of our country and the best investment in preventing violence in the long term,” Gould said. Shannen Buys grew up in Touwsranten and is among an increasing number of young people from the area who are passing matric and going on to a tertiary education. With a BCom from North-West University in her back pocket, she returned to the community and is now involved in workshops to teach positive parenting techniques. “Seven Passes plays a big role in the community. They help with education and they help with the school, where they provide class assistants, and they started the after-school classes,” Buys said. “Now we have started with the parenting course. We are trying to reduce poverty and unemployment. We help kids to be hard-working from a young age and teach them how to achieve their goals.” Gould, Buys said, had a loving family, and wanted the same for other households. “She helps people to get to the top. She is one of the people who encouraged me to move forward and to achieve something in my life.” For her part, Gould said that as a white South African she felt compelled to use her skills to help her fellow citizens. “It is our responsibility to use our social capital, skills and networks to contribute to national development and community development,” she said. “White South Africans have all experienced privilege in our lives, and continue to be privileged. Sharing the resources that come from access to quality education, and sharing our networks of contacts who are also able to leverage resources, is our duty as much as it is also a privilege itself.” Seven Passes was a collective undertaking and “only possible because of the collective energy and dedication of a number of people”, she said. “The ‘real heroes’ are the staff of Seven Passes, our volunteers, members of our board and our donors who make this possible, and the members of the community who contribute to and support our work,” said Gould. Seven Passes sponsors nine teaching assistants and has set up a choir and kickboxing classes. There are reading groups and a primary school feeding scheme, and every afternoon more than 100 children flock to its homework classes. Touwsranten is catching the attention of academics as far afield as the UK; Reading University is involved with the University of Cape Town in studying the efforts to improve parenting in the community. Amelia King, one of the mothers attending a positive parenting course, said the project was unifying and revitalising the community. “There is something big happening and I think that’s what the community needed – a boost. Seven Passes is giving that to us,” she said. Her friend Aphinda Ramba said: “Maybe in the future Seven Passes can stop the drugs, because that is the biggest problem, the drugs.” http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/realheroes/2016/02/28/How-education-was-used-to-make-gangs-on-farms-a-relic-of-our-past
GEORGE NEWS – The Seven Passes Initiative in Touwsranten is excited to be working in conjunction with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) during 2016 in providing four programmes to promote positive parenting within its community.The focus of these programmes will be on the four stages of a child’s life, starting with pregnancy through to the teenage years. “The programmes will therefore play a crucial role in helping parents and children to form a warm, loving bond as well as teaching constructive communication,” explained Wilmi Dippenaar, The Seven Passes Inititative director. The project, with funding from the World Childhood Foundation, will operate in the community of Touwsranten. It will determine if a community-driven public awareness campaign, combined with parenting programmes, will improve parenting and promote child safety across the whole village. “These kinds of partnerships, which bring together policy research organisations, academic institutions and organisations that implement programmes, are essential to developing interventions that actually work,” said Catherine Ward, associate professor at the Department of Psychology at UCT. “The challenge is to determine how to take programmes that have been shown through testing to be effective, to scale.” The Touwsranten project is part of a broader effort by the ISS and UCT to address crime and violence through parenting support programmes that the state can implement nationally. In 2014, their efforts contributed to parenting support being included as a policy priority for the Western Cape Government. The ISS and UCT also helped the provincial government to develop a high-level implementation strategy and budget for parenting support across the province. “The safety and happiness of many South African children are undermined by violence in their homes and communities. We believe parents can develop positive, non-violent skills to help them keep their children safe in and outside of the home,” explained Chandré Gould, senior research fellow at the ISS and CEO of The Seven Passes Initiative. Gould hopes these parenting programmes will have the same positive effect as other Seven Passes initiatives have had. “We have noticed that the youth on youth violence in our community has reduced after we set out to address the problem by training homework facilitators from within the community. The homework programme enabled the youth to recognise their own value.” The project involves a variety of activities, from establishing a community-based brand of positive parenting to delivering evidence-based positive parenting programmes. If the approach is shown to be effective, the project will offer a model for similar projects in other communities in future. ARTICLE AND PHOTO: FRAN KIRSTEN, CORRESPONDENT
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