"We need new locks!" exclaimed Faith at our staff meeting. "And new doors- just more security!" adds Kamo. They are local volunteers at COPESSA.
There has been another break-in at one of our containers. Nothing was stolen this time but the doors are now broken and the library container is not accessible anymore. This makes it more difficult for the volunteers to continue with their Aftercare programme where they give reading classes.
Kamo, Katlego and Faith have been running the Aftercare programme with minimal supplies and are doing their best to make it work.
We haven't been able to improve the security yet as we haven't reached our financial goal. Our plan to improve the security ASAP is to change the doors into more robust ones, getting highly secure locks and installing gates in front of the doors so it's harder for intruders to break in.
Our vision for the long-term is to have electricity re-connected for the lanterns in the park and patrolling as well. One of our biggest problems is the darkness at night where it is very unsafe and completely unsupervised so there is more vandalism occurring. We have started conversations with the custodians of the park Johannesburg City Parks and Zoos and the Local Community Policing Forum with the SAPS to introduce patrolling at night. It would not only help stop the break-ins but will also help to prevent teenagers from drinking, taking and buying drugs at the park. We hope to see these turn into action as more people commit to making these changes for the benefit of the children.
"I just wish this place could be beautiful again" said one of our programme participants. We refuse to believe that this is all we can do for the children but this is a good start.
By the time we ensure the security of our containers we will renovate the inside. We are engaging with the community and through community dialogues motivate the parents to get more involved. We will keep you updated as this project progresses.