IN EL­DOS

One woman has taken it upon her­self to help fight the drug scourge in her com­mu­nity

CityPress - - News -

from home and is liv­ing in the streets where she is be­ing fed drugs and sleep­ing with older men.

“This is not strange in El­dos at all ... We have many other chil­dren in the same sit­u­a­tion where oth­ers are forced into drugs be­cause they have no par­ents to look af­ter them in house­holds where ev­ery­one is a drug user,” James said.

The child was taken to the so­cial work­ers next door to the sta­tion.

“El­do­rado Park is decaying be­cause of drugs that are be­ing sold like sweets ev­ery­where and all the po­lice are do­ing is ar­rest­ing users, while turn­ing a blind eye to the main sup­pli­ers – the big fish. We need to fight the core prob­lem and not kill our own,” she says.

The young man James tried to save from mob jus­tice was not the first that day – she had ear­lier saved another from a sim­i­lar at­tack.

“First, we went and removed from one of the lolly lounges one of the girls who was also sus­pected of hav­ing a hand in Ju­naid’s death be­cause her life was in dan­ger. To­gether with the ladies I work with, we went to the flats in Ex­ten­sion 1 where the mob was stoning one boy’s house.

“Be­fore the sit­u­a­tion got out of hand, I went to the flat and asked the boy to wrap his hands around my body from the back and we walked out slowly as I pleaded with the com­mu­nity to al­low me to hand him over to the po­lice,” she said.

“Mo­ments later, while at the po­lice sta­tion, I got the mes­sage that the mob had gone to the sec­ond boy’s house, but of­fi­cers re­fused to go there, say­ing a spe­cial unit was needed for that.

“Then some­one ran in say­ing they now had the boy ... We ar­rived there, but he was al­ready dead.”

As an ac­tivist in El­do­rado Park, James has seen it all – from sav­ing young girls from the in­fa­mous lolly lounges syn­ony­mous with drugs and un­der­age pros­ti­tu­tion, to see­ing bright young minds de­stroyed by drugs. But she re­fuses to give up.

“It all started when my own son got hooked on drugs. I fought the ad­dic­tion with him and although he is clean, the fight con­tin­ues be­cause we need a clean en­vi­ron­ment for him and oth­ers with fewer peo­ple who would lure them back to the bad side,” she says.

“We live in a com­mu­nity where al­most ev­ery sec­ond boy or man has been to prison or have crim­i­nal records, ren­der­ing them un­em­ploy­able, and many oth­ers who are forced into drugs by dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances.”

In her con­tin­ued fight against drugs, James founded an or­gan­i­sa­tion called Shar­ing With­out Shame.

“We as­sist drug ad­dicts and place them in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres and give them sup­port af­ter­wards. More than 100 ad­dicts have walked through our doors.”

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