Out of the vicious circle

Jugendarbeit Cape Flats

A while ago Sandra facilitated a Holiday Kids Club in the neighbourhood where she grew up, during which she met two sisters age 13 and 17. The two girls even lived in the same street where Sandra’s Mom lived all those years. Both decided to give their hearts to Jesus in that week and Sandra decided to meet with them on a regular basis to help them on their way.

The girls come from a broken home and live in an environment which is characterized by alcohol and drug abuse, gang violence, poverty and emotional abuse. While Sandra was trying to encourage and help them, she found that both did not go to school any longer for various reasons. The sisters explained, however, that they would actually love to go to school.

Because no one else would take care of it, Sandra took the matter into her own hands. She went to different schools but none of them had any more space. The social worker in charge claimed not to be able to help. The children’s court would not be able to help either without a reference case number from the social workers which he was not able or willing to provide either. The Department of Education also claimed that their hands were tied. Wherever she went, all she found was blame shifting but no assistance nor anyone who felt responsible to act. But Sandra refused to give up and went back to the schools until one headmaster was prepared to talk to the two girls and promised to check whether he could accommodate them somehow for the school year 2015 (which in South Africa starts in January).

It was a long and rocky road but eventually both were accepted and enrolled in Glendale Secondary High, the same secondary school that Sandra attended and in walking distance to their home. The girls were so excited when they received their enrolment documents and could start schooling again.

Nevertheless, the girls had to face some difficulties, especially regarding their background and living environment. There were distractions like drugs and (gangster) boyfriends, etc. Sandra continued to visit them and then imagine this: A few weeks after the start of the school term a social worker, who had not bothered to connect with the family the whole year, visited them and apparently told them that they did not have to go to school or would have to continue to live with their grandmother. What stupid advice! Apparently both girls dropped out of school right away and disappeared completely from the area. Now they live with the boyfriend of one of the girls in a far worse area.

Chances are high that they will end up in the vicious circle of teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse and unemployment, which is typical in many of these areas… But at least they no longer have the excuse that they have never had a chance… And Sandra still will be there for them, if they so wish.

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