The community of Ennerdale is under siege and fighting a daily war against drugs but now with the help of 702 and the Dis-Chem Foundation they will have ongoing support to get their youth clean as part of the Random Act of Kindness campaign.
702’s Xolani Gwala and team, along with Penny Stein from the Dis-Chem Foundation visited Ladies of Hope and Vision 4 U – two organisations trying to help the youth in the community – under the advisement of retired Brigadier Allen Billings, who is coordinating efforts to deal with drugs in Ennerdale.
After the visit last week, Xolani took the story to air on Wednesday, 29thMarch and called on the Dis-Chem Foundation for help.
Penny, on behalf of the Dis-chem Foundation, pledged to assist in terms of providing drug kits for the random tests at schools and also meeting the hygiene needs of the patients who are supported by both of these projects for the next year.
Penny explained that following the visit, she is still totally devastated at what she saw, especially the 10 year girls addicted to drugs.
She said that drug addiction is destroying the youth.
“This is a global problem,” said Penny. “The reason why I chose this [place] was that he [Brigadier Allen Billings] doesn’t want kids to go to prison.”
“We’ve got to help,” Penny said.
“If we can change 1 or 2 or 3 children’s lives, we would have done our work.”
The retired Brigadier has a relationship with many at 702 from his former role as Station Commander at Sandton SAPS. He is from Ennerdale and still lives in the community, tirelessly working with projects and centres who offer assistance and counseling to the youth in a bid to get them clean, and off drugs.
Drugs in communities such as Ennerdale are the catalyst for other crimes like theft, robbery, rape and murder and the stats are scary with 1 in 14 people considered regular drug users.
The community has just had enough, with kids as young as 10 getting hooked – unable to keep up with their schooling and getting involved in crime to support their habits.
While on the visit, the team met with Brandon and Marlon who run an outpatient counseling and afterschool facility from one outhouse room, with scraps of furniture and donated items, at the back of a remarkable hospice called Ladies of Hope. This facility is for children who are identified as addicts by the local schools.
The guys also run awareness campaigns in schools and offer books, help with reading and homework, school uniforms for those who don’t have, and a basic gym for physical training.
Vision 4 U started eight months ago and is currently used to house 14 recovering addicts who receive intensive counselling and are tasked with doing chores to maintain and develop the facilities.