Deputy minister launches youth social programme at Cape flats

The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Dr Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, in partnership with USAID, will today launch ChommY at the Silverstream Primary School in Manenberg, in the Western Cape.

Usaid is a US Agency for International Development whose programmes are aimed at addressing social and developmental issues in our communities.

Youth social and behavioral programme

ChommY is a social and behavioural change programme for children between the ages of 10 and 14 years.

Manenberg is largely a coloured community on the Cape Flats. It has been characterised as an area plagued by gang-related violent crimes and drug abuse.

ChommY, a colloquial term for “friend”, seeks to build a positive friendship among children. It also encourages young children to motivate one another to minimise risky behaviour and social ills, including, bullying.
“The programme gives children the opportunity to develop a personal plan for their lives. It emphasises the importance of support from parents and communities. This enables young people to make informed decisions.

“The programme forms part of a basket of social and behavioural change programmes. These are offered by the Department of Social Development,” the department said in a statement. 

Investing in children’s future 
Observed under the theme: “Invest in my Future…Protect me Today”, ChommY aims to generate knowledge, develop skills, and empower young people. It helps them to make informed choices.

These help them contribute to reducing the high prevalence of HIV infections, substance abuse and prevention of teenage pregnancy. 

Interactive programme
Bogopane-Zulu will facilitate dialogues with the children as they share their social experiences and solutions.

Bokamoso – the programme’s mascot – will interact with the children as they participate in indigenous games.

Children affected by violence

Last year, Western Cape provincial police commissioner Maj-Gen Tembekile Phathekile presented crime statistics for the first quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year He said the province experienced inter-gang and intra-gang violence.

Phathekile said inter-gang violence entailed fights over turf, while intra-gang violence involved fights over leadership.

“You can see by the killing of children that young boys are joining gangs and fighting older gangs,” he said. 

He added there needed to be a strategy to divert youngsters away from gang activity.

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