16 Days for Youth
is an initiative that aims to highlight the plights of those who are making a difference in their communities, often out of the generosity of their own hearts, taking care of those in need by digging in their own pockets and offering their personal time or resources. While the station aims to fill these gaps itself over the 16 days, it also offers a platform for listeners to support these initiatives, either in their private or corporate capacities through either cash donations or volunteering their time for building, painting, feeding and entertaining the youth.
Every year, since 2016 the station shuts down from 1-16 June and broadcasts every day; 6am to 6pm, from each location. Over the past 16 days, the core team have travelled as far as Elim and Gouda, to Viliersorp and Porterville, as well as local Cape Metro areas. Over 1592kms was driven, over twenty-five thousand people were fed a warm, hearty meal, prepared and cooked every day on site by “Tannie Magda” and the core team of Heart presenters and volunteers. Over six thousand units of electricity was bought by listeners for some of the organisations and 196 hours of live broadcasting took place over the 16 days on the road. Many facilities were given an “upgrade” through some minor renovations and refurbishments, which not only restored dignity to place of safety, but left these premises more equipped to feed and take good care of those in their care.
This on-air campaign, has once again highlighted how many organisations in the Western Cape are suffering under financial constraints and simply cannot rely on the government grants and sporadic donations alone. Running and managing an NGO already has its challenges, but being in a poor or rural community, poses even more challenges. However, despite this there are individuals that are so dedicated to their cause, one cannot help but to stand up and lend a hand. What they all have in common, is the love for our youth and a genuine passion to see the youth in their communities loved, fed, educated and happy.
We learnt of Overflow, in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, feeding the children in the area once a week. Elim Home, located in the rural town of Elim, who provide wholistic nursing 24/7 as a residential care facility for intellectually and physically disabled children and young adults. “Vriendelike Voëltjies”, a local pre-school in the town of Caledon, run by a retired widow who rents four classrooms out of her own pocket (from her pension). We learnt about the positive changes happening in Villiersdrop, at the “Path of Prosperity” (POP) Centre managed by the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) project.
We saw the derelict homes some children have to live in, who have been referred to them by social workers and placed by order of a children’s court. The two that stood out were Margaret's House, a registered non-profit residential centre based in Lansdowne that looks after 17 boys, who share 3 bedrooms in a derelict house, and Christine Revell Children’s Home in Athlone that provides full-time care for up to 49 babies and children from birth to five years of age, with a huge shortage of staff. We met Margery de Lange, or “aunty Margie” as she is so affectionately known, who runs a creche for the children in her neighbourhood of Atlantis. We spent the day at the Ethembeni Edu-care facility in Khayelitsha where and visited the SOS Children’s Village in Thornton to upgrade their play area with an astro-turf.
Despite the sometimes-overwhelming despair, there are also such positive stories to celebrate . U-Turn in Claremont is an innovative skills-based programme designed by occupational therapists, and other professionals with long term results for rehabilitation and reintegration of the homeless individuals on the streets of Cape Town. U-Turn offers a “Life Change” programme, which nurtures an individual’s personal and vocational skills, as well as relapse prevention.
We learnt how sport not only offers an equal playing field for the youth, but is an activity that every family has in common, on and off the field.
While there’s no clear definition of Corporate Social responsibility (CSR), we can all agree that it’s no longer good enough as a side-line project, but rather a way of life. Business’s should be used as a social lever to making a difference.
Project manager, Denver Apollus comments, “At Heart FM we are truly representative of the diverse, vibrant and colourful community that is Cape Town, and believe we speak to and understand our audience, intimately. We are a trusted member of the community, but we take this responsibility very seriously. With this, comes the unique opportunity to be agents of change, creating a platform for our listeners, partners and clients to be involved with and make a difference in our communities”.
He continues, “Our 16 Days for Youth initiative was created to tell the stories of struggling communities throughout the Western Cape and to mobilise listeners to support them. The initiative aids these communities by feeding, fixing, building and changing the environment for the better. Heart FM believes these opportunities serve as a platform to connect with listeners, while bringing together Capetonians with diverse backgrounds to interact and be a part of the change.”
For more information about the initiative, go to http://16daysforyouth.com/