Friday, 18 July 2014

67 Minutes in Juvenile Detention

My heart tore into many pieces as I walked through the awaiting trial, substance abuse treatment, diversion, to finally the sentenced children.

Today is Mandela Day and most South Africans are getting involved in some community service for 67 minutes for the 67 years spent by Nelson Mandela in prison. How can today be more different when asked to cover the visit by the Kenny Morolong, Deputy Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), to the Mogale Youth Development Centre or as I simply called it, Juvenile Detention.

The NYDA was there in force to do their 67 minutes of cleaning, painting, and preparing a room to become the new Library, then later they mingled with the Diversion Programme children. I am not sure if I’ll get this right but what I understand these are derailed children that are diverted from getting a criminal record by being placed on a programme to get them back on track. Sort of like a second chance. This place opened my eyes as it is not just a detention centre as I initially thought but it is more of a Youth Development Centre.

Even so just being here, affected my spirit deeply, as some of my closet friends and family might know that I spent time in an orphanage or so called place of safety when I was a young boy which has scarred my memories of social workers. So here I found myself among children in conflict of our country’s laws, children who are hurting, and the thought that kept running through my mind as I looked at each young teenager, was what if this was my son, what would I do? Awaiting trial children, what would I do? Substance abuse children (for example children on drugs, and or alcohol), what would I do? Children on the Diversion Programme, what would I do? Or even children that have already fallen foul of the law and have been sentenced to juvenile detention, what would I do? 67 minutes, what will you do?

What will you do?

No comments:

Popular Posts