Young girls in Alexandra will no longer be like wild berries freely available for the plucking by sex predators and human traffickers.
This is courtesy of a newly formed non-profit organisation, Thusa Mugal, founded during the lockdown that followed the outbreak of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Thusa Mugal means ‘help a girl child’, an offshoot of Thusanang Feeding Scheme, located on 5th Avenue and formed by Mapule Moremi.
Thusanang Feeding Scheme was founded by Mapule’s late father together with his wife, Jane Moremi, following their desire to ensure that no one in Alexandra went to bed on an empty stomach, and had been tackling hunger in the township since its formation in 2010 by providing meals to the needy from their garage.
Speaking to Alex News, Mapule said the advent of the Covid-19 lockdown prompted her to form Mugal after she saw a number of girls, some of them in the feeding scheme, freely roaming the streets and opening themselves up to become targets of sex predators and human traffickers.
“I used to see these children roaming the streets freely at the height of the lockdown and decided to form an organisation that would take them off the streets and away from mischief, and teach and groom them about the values of life such as self-worth, self-control, self-respect and self-love, and to teach them to avoid falling in love at an early age,” she added.
“We are living in a changed world of many catastrophes. We can no longer afford to allow our children, including boys, to be ‘ovanzi’ [free roamers] who freely [roam] the streets purposelessly as this exposes them to harm and the possibilities of being kidnapped for human trafficking.
“Now more than ever before, we need to look after our children and ensure they are always within the confines of their homes. Gone are the days when any child was my child and was a community child loved by all and sundry.”
Mapule looks after about 10 girls from the age of 11 to 15 who receive homework from her to research on a particular topic of discussion when they next meet. “I do this in order for them to research and have something to do but more importantly so that this comes from them as opposed to me feeding them with information. They should bring the information and we share it together.”
One of the topics Mapule gave them was to research was on human trafficking and how to avoid being trafficked, and the need to conscientise the community about it. One of the girls suggested they stage a march around the township carrying placards with educational awareness messages and they did this on Heritage Day which included calls to stop women and child abuse, gender-based violence and femicide.
Another topic was for the children to outline their career wishes and why they chose that particular career. One of the girls said she wanted to become a lawyer. When asked why she said there were too many injustices in the country and ‘I want to tackle them legally rather than taking the law into our own hands as often practised by the community’.
Mapule urged parents to tackle community problems now and not wait for an incident when a child had been killed, kidnapped or molested. “We should hold the knife on its cutting edge,” she added.
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