Semi­fi­nal­ist reaches out

School visit part of Mr Jus­tice SA project

Go! & Express - - Front Page - QHAMANI LINGANI

MR JUS­TICE SA semi­fi­nal­ist Caviner Ruiters vis­ited Pef­ferville Pri­mary School last week for an out­reach education project of the pageant. This project works along with the No Crime Cul­ture project and seeks to re­in­stil moral­ity in the youth through education projects con­ducted at schools through­out South Africa as part of the cam­paign to be­com­ing the next Mr Jus­tice South Africa.

Ruiters chose Pef­ferville be­cause it is sur­rounded by poverty, and he wanted to en­cour­age young peo­ple from the school to speak up and fin­ish school so that they can bet­ter their lives, that of their fam­i­lies and, in turn, the com­mu­nity. It is also a com­mu­nity he knows well and that is close to his heart, hav­ing grown up and com­pleted his school­ing in the neigh­bour­ing area of Park­side.

“For our projects we are look­ing at a deeper sense of is­sues faced by our na­tives, more so the youth seek­ing to ad­dress is­sues of in­equal­ity with the main fo­cus on gen­der abuse,” Ruiters said.

“Judg­ing from crime and rape sta­tis­tics, more so that of chil­dren within our school­ing sys­tem [and not just Pef­ferville], my team and I, in­clu­sive of Rhodes Univer­sity stu­dents and staff, de­cided to ad­dress these is­sues head on by vis­it­ing schools and em­pow­er­ing the youth on these is­sues.”

He said with women be­ing killed al­most ev­ery day in the coun­try, they agreed with the #MenAreTrash cam­paign, but added that not all men were trash.

“We need to strengthen the voice of women in our coun­try and make sure that they are safe all the time. We are here to give young girls a voice, to tell them that it is OK to stand up for what they be­lieve in, and for young boys to treat their fe­male coun­ter­parts with re­spect and dig­nity.”

Grow­ing up in Park­side, Ruiters said he was ex­posed to the abuse of women and chil­dren. One day he de­cided that he would go around the coun­try – as well as abroad – to make peo­ple aware of it.

Pef­ferville Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Ma­son Mackay said vis­its from peo­ple like Ruiters, where peo­ple just spend time with the chil­dren to em­power them, were very wel­come at the school in the mainly un­der­priv­i­leged neigh­bour­hood.

“Un­for­tu­nately peo­ple only come to our school dur­ing Man­dela Day and that’s it. The com­mu­nity needs to get more in­volved and more of­ten,” Mackay said.

“Caviner chose the school be­cause he was once like these chil­dren and there­fore knows what they are go­ing through. We hope what he has shared with them will make them un­der­stand that education is im­por­tant in life.”

Ruiters’s du­ties as an in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights ac­tivist in­clude trav­el­ling around the coun­try telling peo­ple that women and men are equal and should be treated with the dig­nity and re­spect they de­serve.

This is a mes­sage that is re­ally nec­es­sary in South Africa, with crimes against women and chil­dren in the news more of­ten of late.

Pic­ture: QHAMANI LINGANI

SO­CIAL MES­SAGE: Caviner Ruiters in­spired the pupils of Pef­ferville Pri­mary School to achieve more in life and not fol­low the trend of com­mit­ting vi­o­lence against oth­ers

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