Tuesday, 11 March 2014 23:35


Written by Gary van Dyk - Tygerburger
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Some youngsters from Bellville South got a taste of life behind bars last week, and they don’t like what they’ve seen.
They were part of the group that was taken to Goodwood Prison last week by Former Tik Addicts Reach Out (FTARO) who have been doing these tours for youth at risk since 2011.
The organisation’s Dhakir Christians pointed out that the project targets youth who are at risk and it has been very successful over the years.
“Our success hinges on the fact that they get the chance to have open candid discussions with wardens and inmates who can deter youth from the journey to jail through their bad behaviour.
“Last week we did the tour in collaboration with the local ward councillor Mercia Kleinsmith, the local police and the Community Police Forum.”
Christians, who is also Project Director of Books Not Prison Bars, added that this is a great program to deter children from a life of crime.
“The effect it has on the children really scares them straight.”
Kleinsmith also added why she as a ward councillor support this initiative.
“We’ve had some positive results over the past few years and seen some positive changes,” she said.
“Many of them even return to school to complete their education.”
Christians also points out that shock tactics works. “We realised that part of being young is the feeling of immortality and general belief “It won’t happen to me”.
“I must say that after being on this tour, the fear of landing up in prison is really the only thing that motivates a kid from embarking on a life of crime.”
During the visit the children are not only exposed to the prison environment, but also receive a motivational lecture with topics like values, morals, discipline, principles, responsibility, lifeskills, vision and planning their lives on a positive path.
Kleinsmith also explained that irrespective of some criticism, this program has achieved significant results.
“We do not expect to reform and save all the youth at once, but to save two out of ten youths is a bonus.
Christians concluded by thanking the members of the community who make these visits possible.
“We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Sharon Adriaanse and family as well as Mosnul Islam and family.”

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