The youth from Freedom Park in Mitchells Plain now have a safe haven to spend time reading in a 12-metre long container that was converted into a library.
The container was donated by Film Africa to the A&A Development Programme in Freedom Park. The non-profit Organisation, is run by former PSL Referee, Anwar Alexander and his wife, Ayesha Alexander.
Their organisation started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and it feeds about 300 children from the community at least three times a week.
Alexander says the library creates a safe space for children who do not have that kind of affordability at home.
” What the library has created is a safe spot for the kids, to come and sit down and educate themselves .”
He says there are a number of children in Freedom Park who cannot read, and this is a big problem.
” It is a common problem in schools as well, children come in grade 4 and 5 then they struggle.
“We want to break that gap a little bit. We just want to make a difference wherever we can,” he says.
He says in the beginning they used to let the children take the books out, but had a problem when some of them didn’t return to the library.
“It was a trial and error period but, now we let them read at the library so that we can keep track of the books.”
Despite the library being situated on a field where gang activity used to take place, Alexander says that the community has bought into the idea of the kids having access to reading material.
” The library does not have burglar bars, and up until today, we had no break-ins or elements trying to break us down,” he says.
Alexander says that Freedom Park has an estimate of 496 houses and a ratio of three school children per household, so parents do benefit from the environment that they have created for their kids.
“We have already received positive feedback from two schools in the area, and they have also assisted us with reading material,” he says.
He also urges anyone who would like to assist them by donating any reading or studying material towards the library to make contact with him.
Anwar Alexander: 071 071 0563
PICTURE: Cape Town etc gallery