Cape Town - A Bo-Kaap garden, started as a safe, green and creative space for young people, especially for young girls, has become the site of constant thefts and break-ins.
Formed by Bo-Kaap residents Mishkah Bassadien, Abieda Charles and Lameez Ali in 2017, An-Naasiroon the Bo-Kaap Helpers Garden has already been broken into nine times, with donated items, arts and craft tools, garden tools and other resources stolen.
Currently, 10 boys and 12 girls visit and tend the garden daily, many of whom face physical, emotional and even mental neglect, said its founders.
The garden constitutes an Art and Eco Wellness programme within a safe communal food garden situated in Upper Leeuwen Street Park. Ecotherapy is facilitated through engaging youth with nature and God consciousness.
Youth programme manager Bassadien said the break-ins began at the end of last year and there was a need for secure fencing and a wooden shed.
“The ninth break-in took place a few months ago. We reported the cases to the police but they only responded to the first three, where we got case numbers and statements. The police responded that they can do nothing about it because there are no suspects,” said Bassadien.
They received a quote for fencing and installation and have appealed to members of the public to assist with donations or appropriate fencing.
“With donations toward a fence which costs R258 256 and particularly a permanent safe venue to teach the kids when it rains, we were looking to purchase a tent but it proved to be impractical because of the rain, security risk and harsh windy conditions.”
“The Bo-Kaap Helpers Garden shares its produce to whomever is in need.
“Due to several break-ins, we've been constantly challenged, specifically the safety of the Bo-Kaap Helpers who are aged between 6-14 years.
“A better quality and higher security fence will deter burglaries as the existing fence is easily accessible to climb over.”
To assist, contact Bassadien on 079 373 6269 or Charles on 073 094 9476.