Masifundise Development Trust has called on parents in the fishing community of Arniston to get their kids involved in a youth programme that will be run by the Cape Agulhas District Municipality.
Representatives of Masifundise gathered with parents last Thursday to hear details of the planned programme, from officials of the municipality.
As part of extramural activities, learners in grades 6 and 7 will partake in different sports, arts, culture and recreational activities.
The programme has been running in some Southern Cape communities for three years but was yet to be implemented in Arniston.
The programme is currently coordinated by Renier Louw (Arts and Culture) and Sibongile Mnguni who co-ordinates the Sports and Recreation.
“We have been running the youth programme in Bredasdorp with high school kids and it has really helped the kids shape up, think about their future and who they want to be,” said Renier Louw.
“We have a soccer team that has participated in competitions and also some of the kids were African Cup of Nation ambassadors in 2010,” commented Sibongile who runs the sport and recreation side of the programme.
He told Masifundise that the youth seem to want to wait for someone else to do things for them but their programme helps to change that mindset.
“When we take the youth into this programme we engage in activities that will stimulate their thoughts so that they can plan and see themselves at a better place in five, 10 to 20 years-time,” said Louw.
Masifundise came across the programme while doing research on the possible opportunities that could be presented for women and youth via the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP).
Carmen Mannarimo, an intern from Italy, who was in-charge of the research project, was distraught by the finding that the youth of Arniston did not see a future in their communities.
“When I had the first focus group with the women in Arniston, it emerged that besides the lack of employment opportunities, there wasn’t any recreational activities available for the youth of Arniston” said Carmen.
The women told Carmen they were hoping for something similar to what is there for the aged people of the community, activities like recreational and sport activities, weekly meeting and shorts trip, were brought in by Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA).
They also, told her that someone in the municipality was meant to organize activities for the youth and she found it very important to follow up. “The youth in Arniston seemed to feel completely hopeless about their future and a youth programme could represent a significant alternative to the spread drug abuse present in the community” she said.
She then phoned around to see what opportunities existed and eventually connected with the municipality.
“I hope the youth in Arniston will now see a future,” Carmen commented, “My hope for the implementation of the youth programme in Arniston is that it would help in reducing school drops out, that is happening at a very young age” she commented.
The programme is expected to take shape as soon as school re-opens next year. Masifundise will assist the municipality implement the programme in the school, by getting young people involved, especially those from fishing families.
“By targeting a younger age group, the programme can start a good sustainable trend for the community, in which the children are involved since a young age. Thanks to this programme, the young people of Arniston could be able to develop their talent in sports, art and culture, and it could help in building self-confidence, relational skills and sense of community” said Carmen.
While the programme will target kids of grade 6 and 7, Carmen biggest hope is that young parents, and young people between the ages of 12 and 25 could feel motivated by the good outcome of the programme might have. “I hope they get more involved in the community and take part in the activities of the youth programme, too” Carmen continued.
“We hope that the kids who will partake in the programme will grow to become the future leaders of Arniston,” said Sibongile.
“We hope it will awaken the spirit of the youth ad help the community become a better place” he continued.
The youth programme will engage the school pupils in dance, poetry, soccer, board games and other creative exercise.