Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jul 2007
Source: Herald, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2007 The Herald.
Author: Mike Loewe, Grahamstown Correspondent
Bookmark: (Youth)


DRUGS such as tik and cocaine are being used in  Grahamstown schools,
township residents toss their  rubbish in the streets because they
don't know where  else to throw it, and a restaurant promoting street
children's art could be linked to American cafes.

These were a few of the research findings and  suggestions presented
by 23 American and 23 African  students at a press conference in
Grahamstown  yesterday.

The group, which included NMMU students Anelisa Ngcibi  and Andiswa
Nikata, attended a three-week research  course which resulted in the
launch of nine  township-focused community projects.

The course, backed by the New Jersey-based Global  Partnerships for
Activism and Cross-cultural Training  at Rutgers State University New
Jersey, saw students  from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe
and  South Africa pair up with American students for a  course led by
Rutgers International Affairs academic Dr  Denise Horn.

The NMMU students were chosen by the Ubuntu Educational  Fund to
attend the course. Ngcibi said there had been a  bit of cultural
miscommunication at the start, but they  had become good friends with
the Americans.

Students in the Isiko group said their project was  aimed at marketing
arts and crafts created by  Eluxolweni Shelter kids through a
restaurant which  would be linked to cafes in the US.

The Sisonke project found that township residents were  not informed
about municipal refuse removal procedures,  where to dump or what
could be dumped.

"People feel they can't change anything. They feel  alone and there is
a lack of motivation."

Home owners who cleaned their yards were said to be  overwhelmed by
litter from neighbours. The project said  residents needed to be
inspired to take collective  responsibility for removing waste and
promoting  alternatives such as trading packets for meals from the
Grahamstown Feeding Association, and bottles and their  own scrap
metal for money.

Apathy and a lack of community discussion led to a  situation where
residents did not think about how they  disposed of their litter.

The president of the 20/20 project, Jonathan Simpson,  said their
research into drug and alcohol abuse among  the youth revealed a
"serious problem" in schools.

They spoke to teachers, administrators and teenagers  who said "tik,
weed and glue" were being used, and  there was mention of cocaine
being brought in from  Johannesburg and Cape Town.

On the positive side, they felt Grahamstown was too  small to allow
for the drugs to be marketed and this  had an inhibiting effect.

The 20/20 project discovered that schoolchildren found  their life
orientation teachers "too boring". to heed  their advice. The project
concluded that young, hip  anti-drug campaigners, such as American
"The New Dare"  group needed to be brought to the schools.

The Galela Amanzi (Pour the Water) project said it  wanted to raise R2
368 for 5 000-litre community rain  tanks to be put up at schools
which would provide water  for school gardens and flushing toilets
when water  supply failed.

Other projects promoted the teaching of English to  second-language
speakers in a bid to provide access to  jobs, and for clothing to be
donated to the poor.

Global Pact site director Paul Kuehn said the projects  would be
handed over to the community, but if the  students wanted to continue
with them, supporting funds  would be found.
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