Never walk alone



May 24, 2016
Never walk alone

SAFETY FIRST: Parents walk kids to and from school in Wesbank

New parent programme to get laaities safely to school

These parents are taking the safety of their kids into their own hands.

The moms and dads from Wesbank hope to set a new standard on the Cape Flats with their initiative, which has been formalised by the Department of Community Safety, called the Walking Bus.

It basically involves parents taking responsibility for their laaities by fetching them at home and walking them safely to and from school.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato says the pilot project in Wesbank will see almost 50 parents work with the Department and the Community Policing Forum to help safeguard about 300 participating learners.

“I had a meeting with the community of Mitchells Plain recently and we will be launching the Walking Bus in Lentegeur on June 8,” he adds.

The Wesbank coordinator of the initiative Edith van Wyk says: “The culture of parents walking their children to and from school has been an on-going one in our community, but unfortunately not every child got to walk hand-in-hand with their parents to school.

“Now we have about 250 parents participating in the Walking Bus programme, operating in all three primary schools in Wesbank.

“In the morning each of the parents starts in their own road and collects the children there and walks them safely to school in formation and makes sure each of them makes it inside the premises.”

Mom Louise Willemse, 50, explains: “When these gangsters shoot at each other, they don’t care what time it is, a lot of times it happens when these children are on their way to school and they get caught in the middle.

“I have two grandchildren who go to Hoofweg Primary and I am thankful they are safe because of what we and the other parents do.”

Edith says the knock-on effect is that school attendance went up because parents knew exactly where their kids were.

After walking the smaller laaities to school, some parents then go on to monitor certain high schools, ensuring skollies are kept clear of learners.

Louise say they start patrolling from just after 5am, to also keep an eye on mense going to work.

Mother of three Margret Adams, 41, says she is thankful for the initiative.

“Not everyone is able to drop off and pick up their children and at least this way we know they are safe,” she says.

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