Three generations of women from Welton Warriors, a non-profit organisation, say they are using “love” as a secret weapon to fight crime in Lavender Hill.
Founder Regina Morris said they believe that having compassion for the community and teaching them to say no to crime “has made a big difference”.
Ms Morris said they inspired their neighbours to form Welton Warriors, named after the street in which they live, Welton Road, to paint their walls with positive messages; to keep their streets clean; and to beautify street corners with plants.
The messages on the walls in-clude “change starts with me” and “say no to crime and drugs”.
With the help of fellow members Pastor Jacobus Marthinus, Dennis Morris, Carron Ruiters, Michelle Kok, Raymonde Abrahams and Andrew Kok, they launched the NPO in November last year and are planning to keep uplifting the community.
They also feed residents soup and porridge every Friday.
Ms Morris believes she has set a good example for the next two generations of her family, her daughter Portia Johnson and granddaughter Jada.
Ms Johnson grew up seeing her mother help young children who knocked on their door to ask for food. “She will never let anyone leave empty-handed,” said Ms Johnson.
Jada, a Grade 12 pupil at Norman Henshilwood High School, also has a passion to help the community. “I spend most of my time at my grandma’s house and I see how she loves the community. She always makes a plan to feed them. She inspires me to reach out as well. I would like to study psychology at the University of Cape Town next year. But my dream is actually to study at the Maastricht University, in the Netherlands,” she smiled.
Ms Johnson said: “When my mother blows her whistle at 5pm to alert everyone that the soup is ready, people flock to our home.”
Her mother starts feeding the younger children first, then the disabled, then senior citizens.
“We want to create a better environment for the kids around here who are exposed to family members who are on drugs, and many of the children are neglected as a result. We want to continue making food and providing gifts. My mother has an eye for the needy and she aims to start a sup- port group for teenage boys to keep them off the streets,” said Ms Johnson.
“We painted the vibrecrete walls in the street the colour lavender, however, we had to stopped because we ran out of paint,” she said.
Ms Morris said Welton Warriors will be celebrating their first anniversary in November. “We will celebrate in an enclosed street with games and clothes will be handed out to the children.”
Ms Morris worked at a home for the aged in Kenilworth for eight years.
“We come from a background where we take care of residents. When we told residents about what we are doing, some of them gave us donations,” said Ms Johnson.
Welton Warriors held mini bazaars to raise funds to buy ingredients for soup and porridge.
Ms Johnson said after children come out of school, she invites them to play games in their street.
“I also bought a bike. Everyone wants to learn how to ride a bike. I spent so much time teaching the kids how to ride a bike, I often start cooking very late,” she said, adding that she doesn’t mind because the “little ones are my blessings”.
To donate food or toys, contact Ms Morris on 083 558 8238.