A fresh haircut and a lifted spirit is what Ralph Bouwers, founder of NPO Guardians of the National Treasure (GNT), wanted to give Lavender Hill boys when he started a cut-a-thon last year.
Just over 50 children from Lavender Hill got a free haircut when GNT asked barbers to make the boys look good for their first day of school.
This year that number tripled to 150 boys getting a neat style be-
fore school started today, Wednesday January 17.
Speaking from his home in Lavender Hill, where the cut-a-thon was hosted, Mr Bouwers said the idea came about because of the need in the community.
“Lavender Hill is a very impoverished community and there are a lot of issues. We at GNT help them with basic needs which include food, after school and holiday programmes and other things but with the school term starting we wanted them to also look and feel good, proud and motivated,” said Mr Bouwers.
He said many parents could not afford to send their children to a barber shop.
“The kids go to school without a haircut and they automatically feel left out and they are made fun of. We try to give them a boost at the beginning of the year to make them feel like it’s one less thing they have to worry about and they start their school year off right. Now parents don’t have to make the hard decision, they can go and spend that money on a bread or electricity,” he said.
The Cape Flats Development Association, Learning in Reach, Sanitech and the Steenberg CPF partnered with GNT for this initiative.
Zuhier Nordien, owner of Nordien Salon in Military Road, Steenberg, also partnered with GNT.
“We came on board because we know the struggles these parents and children face, coming from such an impoverished area. We wanted to assist GNT and Ralph because they do amazing work. We need to look after our youth because they are our future,” said Mr Nordien.
Mr Bouwers encouraged companies and residents to support their initiative.
“We need as much help as possible to give our children as many opportunities as possible to succeed,” he said.