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“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of” Nelson Mandela

“We are violating the rights of young people in this county on a daily basis. These kids are not getting what they were promised in terms of the constitution and the bill of rights. And then we blame them for the problem of high crime and gangs. Yet we put them in a situation where that’s sometimes the only alternative for survival. We are responsible, as a country, for creating a situation where gangs are inevitable” Don Pinnock. Pinnock is a South African writer, investigative journalist, criminologist and author of ‘Gang Town’ a book written drawing on three decades of research.

The Cape Flats is an area in the Western Cape of Southern Africa, it is an example of where the problems of massive income inequality in the country are most obvious. There are also high rates of unemployment and very limited state-supported service delivery. The Cape Flats is an epicentre where community members are recruited to become involved in local and international organised crime.

What of the children who live here? “These kids live on the margins of society, where no one really worries. If things go wrong, what’s the problem? They are destined to populate gangs anyway. This is the kind of thinking that we need to disrupt, in the children themselves, in their families and in our staff. These are young men. They are potential leaders. They are community builders, its about changing narratives, its about reclaiming a space of pain and making a space of empowerment, a space of resilience says Moosa Mahadick.

Moosa Mahadick is the principal of the Ottery Youth Care and Education Centre. The centre cares for teenagers who have been challenged by various negative, often very dangerous situations, that they find themselves in. The officially accredited centre offers support and safety to young men and teaches them a spirit of resilience, so that they can learn to bounce back onto the right path.

The EMS Foundation strives towards achieving lasting solutions, alleviating and ending of suffering in some of the most vulnerable communities in South Africa. The Ottery Youth Care and Education Centre was selected by the founder of the EMS Foundation, Elizabeth Steyn, who says that she proud to support an organisation that is making such an enormous difference in the lives of so many.

The COVID_19 global pandemic and the announcement of the total lockdown in South Africa brought about much uncertainty to the most vulnerable citizens. The EMS Foundation and the Ottery Youth Care and Education Centre wanted to highlight the very real issue of food security for the young men in the care at the centre and the issue of food security for their families and the greater community in the Cape Flats.

The EMS Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank the manager and staff at Pick n Pay Ottery Hypermarket who were fantastic at helping and sorting out stock with great service whilst the store was extremely busy hours before the lockdown in South Africa began.

The staff and young men of the Ottery Youth Care and Education Centre determined who needed an essential food parcel, including their own families, in the community. A list of essential basic dry foodstuffs was drawn up. The EMS Foundation sponsored the huge order, and Pick n Pay Hypermarket in Ottery organised all the logistics with great care under extremely difficult circumstances. The young men at the centre helped unload the delivery truck, pack the individual 120 food generous food parcels at the centre and then the parcels were delivered to the families on the Cape Flats.

A day after the emergency food delivery, on Friday the March 27th 2020 South Africa has reported their first fatalities of the COVID_19 pandemic. This is the same day that the country begins its first day of the official lockdown. South Africa has the highest number of number of corona virus infected victims on the African continent. The number is almost 1000. Whilst many South African’s are complaining about not being able to go for a jog or walk their dog there are many of those who will be confined to very small crowed spaces. Some of these spaces are not safe. Our thoughts are with them all.

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