Press release

Johannesburg, 23 March 2017

Young inmates to cycle 240 km in the Western Cape to Break the Cycle of Crime

Crime is a reality in South Africa and affects us all. Every night over fifty thousand young people in South Africa, between the ages of 14 and 25, are sleeping in a prison or secure care centre. The Western Cape is key crime area for youth, with gangs having turned their attention to schools. Gang violence and robbery are rife and drug merchants can be found in many schools. The Western Cape Province has the highest rate of alcohol and drug related crime in South Africa.

IK Swart President's Award Leader heads-up the 2015 BCC cycle tourBreak the Cycle of Crime (BCC) Cycle Tour 2017

Under the auspices of The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment (TPA), four youth offender Gold Award participants and others will be completing a 240 km cycle tour on mountain bikes through the Breede River Valley area in the Western Cape from the 4th to 7th April 2017.

There will be approximately 30 cyclists who will participate in the upcoming Break the Cycle of Crime (BCC) cycle tour including the four youth offenders, four correctional service officials, four SAPS officials and other current Gold Award youth participants and Award leaders.

The BCC cycle tour is an extraordinary project, envisioned by IK Swart, a committed and dedicated President’s Award Leader at Robertson Correctional Centre.  The group will cycle the 240 kilometres through the Langeberg region stopping at schools and communities en route to take a positive stand against crime and play their unique role in Breaking the Cycle of Crime in South Africa.

The BCC journey will begin and end at the Langeberg Secondary School in Robertson each day, with the finish on the last day happening at the Robertson Correctional Centre. The group will pass through McGregor and Ashton.

The first BCC event was held in 2015 and based on the success and impact of the initiative, this is the second BCC event and the vision is for this event to become an annual occurrence. This is the only cycle trip in the world where incarcerated youth cycle alongside free citizen youth and adults.

“TPA is working hard towards Breaking the Cycle of Crime in South Africa, by encouraging youth at risk to participate in the Award Programme.  The Award is a life-changing experience, helping young people to discover their purpose, develop their character and realise their true potential,” said Janine Hansen, Head of Operations at The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment.

Reaching out to youth offenders

The Award Programme was first introduced to correctional centres in 1994 by President Nelson Mandela.  Since then over 40 000 inmates have enrolled on the Award, over 30 correctional centres actively implement the Award.

Monwabisi Nteyiya, one of the TPA Gold Award recipients from Robertson Correctional Centre who participated in and completed the first BCC in 2015 said, “In prison there are many negative forces. Outside there are many challenges too.  When I was in the community, I used to be a negative leader who led many young people the wrong way, but … I now want to be a positive leader that can direct the youth to follow their dreams and make the most of their lives.  One cannot control your circumstances, but you can control yourself and your choices that ultimately determine your future.’

“I would like to see change in our society.  We need to transform our communities and to have less crime. The President’s Award can break the cycle of crime in communities by creating opportunities for youth to be engaged in positive activities like sport, service, adventure and skills development which can change their lives. If it changed me, in prison, I know it can change young people in the community as well. Give this Programme a chance in your centre, school or community.  And please help the President’s Award reach more young people who can benefit from doing the Award, as I did.”

Engaging with the community

En route the youth offender Award participants will stop at schools and youth centres with the aim of talking to young people about the choices they made that landed them in prison. They will talk about the choices they are now making that will allow them to leave prison better prepared to lead purposeful, productive lives and become active, responsible citizens.

“It was one of my dreams to offer our offenders the opportunity to interact with young people in the surrounding towns on their journey and share their circumstances that caused them to get involved in crime and at the same time to motivate these young people not to get involved in drug abuse or any activity that might link them to crime. They should ‘Beak the Cycle of Crime’ in the community before ending up in a Correctional Centre,” said IK Swart.

“The impact that TPA has had on Department of Correctional Services (DCS) participants is huge, they market themselves to the community outside and these offenders need to ‘practice what they preach’. This commitment has to be executed when they are released in the community. They put themselves in the spotlight,” he continued.

In addition to changing young lives through the BCC education programme and raising awareness, the young offenders wish to raise financial support to make this life changing programme available to 100 young people in the Western Cape.

Background to The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment

The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment (TPA) is affiliated to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People and is a full member of the International Award Foundation which oversees the Award Programme in over 140 countries globally, with 25 of these being in Africa, and a total of over one million active participants internationally.

TPA creates opportunities for young people to develop character, discover their purpose and determine their future to contribute towards building a great South Africa.  The Award Programme targets 14-24 year olds across the socio-economic spectrum, from public and private schools, children’s homes, correctional centres, tertiary institutions, etc. The Award provides a framework for non-formal education and has set guiding principles, with proven outcomes for young people who complete the Award.

Participants progress at their own pace through three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are four Sections to the Programme that must be done for a specified minimum period of time, for each level: Skills; Physical Recreation; Service and; an Adventurous Journey. In addition, a Residential Project is required for the Gold level. With guidance from volunteer adult Award Leaders, each young person reflects upon their interests, abilities and ambitions as they set themselves challenges throughout the Sections. On achieving an Award, participants would have developed many skills, behaviours and attitudes that equip them to succeed in life and work.

TPA is a registered non-profit organisation (004-920NPO) with Public Benefit Organisation status, registered with SARS (PBO#930001329). For more information, to enrol, volunteer, or to sponsor TPA contact (046) 622 7273 or info@presidentsaward.co.za.

www.presidentsaward.co.za

 

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About The President’s Award

The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment (TPA) is affiliated to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People and is a full member of the International Award Foundation which oversees the Award Programme in over 140 countries globally, with 25 of these being in Africa, and a total of over one million active participants internationally.  TPA is a registered non-profit organisation (004-920NPO) with Public Benefit Organisation status, registered with SARS (PBO#930001329).

TPA creates opportunities for young people to develop character, discover their purpose and determine their future to contribute towards building a great South Africa.  The Award Programme targets 14-24 year olds across the socio-economic spectrum, from public and private schools, children’s homes, correctional centres, tertiary institutions, etc. The Award provides a framework for non-formal education and has set guiding principles, with proven outcomes for young people who complete the Award.

Participants progress at their own pace through three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are four Sections to the Programme that must be done for a specified minimum period of time, for each level: Skills; Physical Recreation; Service and; an Adventurous Journey. In addition, a Residential Project is required for the Gold level. With guidance from volunteer adult Award Leaders, each young person reflects upon their interests, abilities and ambitions as they set themselves challenges throughout the Sections. On achieving an Award, participants would have developed many skills, behaviours and attitudes that equip them to succeed in life and work. 

www.presidentsaward.co.za

 

Issued on behalf of The President’s Award by Stone Soup Public Relations

For further information, please contact Daya Coetzee

daya@stonesoup.co.za, (011) 447 7241

 

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