NICRO Press Release

March 2016

Fighting School Violence One Programme at A Time

Violence, crime and drugs have a grip of terror on South African schools.

It was recently reported* that a Cape Town pupil was stabbed to death on school grounds due to a gang-related incident. Soraya Solomon, CEO of NICRO had the following to say: “Unfortunately, across South Africa, schools are in a state of crisis and do not represent safe and creative spaces where children can optimally learn and develop. The schools lack resources and many children feel demotivated and unwelcome.”


With their lives being at risk every day due to the levels of violence to which they are exposed, many children drop out of school. According to a study conducted in Manenberg**, it was found that children who are exposed to gangsterism are at greater risk of becoming perpetrators of violence themselves.


Solomon continues, “Crime can be reduced by creating community partnerships that lead to pro-social community action and an enabling, supportive environment that is conducive to both individual and group change”.


To combat the potentially dire plight of South African pupils, NICRO has put a holistic approach in place to change the behaviour of at risk youth. NICRO’s “Safety Ambassadors” programme is central to this approach. The Programme offers learners a range of services to assist in turning their lives away from crime.


The Programme focuses on developing and mentoring “Safety Ambassadors” at secondary school level. “Safety Ambassadors” are a select group of young people who have been empowered with the prerequisite skills, knowledge, experience and motivation to serve as positive role models. The aim is for these Ambassadors to interact with and influence circles of youth - dissuading them from participating in anti-social behaviour and committing crime. The Programme is effectively an intervention, aimed at pupils within the 15 -18 year age group that are located in marginalised, high-risk communities. Young people are selected for participation in the training and mentorship Programme, which spans over a total of two years.


Regarding the Programme, Solomon says, “The concept of utilising peers to develop a sustainable support structure in local schools and ultimately within communities, is fundamental to the Programme’s success. This is achieved by building the experience and skills levels of both Safety Ambassadors and educators through training and supplementing the educational component with various practical crime prevention activities and projects.”


Solomon urges communities to contact NICRO if they would like to nominate a school to take part in the Programme. For more information or to donate to NICRO, please visit:

www.nicro.org.za

* http://m.ewn.co.za/2016/02/12/Grade-11-learner-stabbed-to-death-at-CT-school
**http://mg.co.za/article/2015-07-08-gang-violence-exposes-children-to-mental-instability-report

ENDS


Veronica Mtsishe
Eclipse Public Relations
Tel 021 680 5288 | 0861 325471
Fax 086 639 2629
P O Box 50797, Waterfront, 8002
Ground Floor, Liesbeek House, River Park, Gloucester Road, Mowbray, Cape Town, 7700
www.eclipsepr.co.za

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