His Eminence Archbishop Sergios was instrumental in setting up a workshop for a group of children from Khayelitsha at the Orthodox Centre.
The idea appealed to three intrepid young people of our community, Crystal-Jade Lerios, Panayiota Christoforou and Petros Khaya who expertly set up the programme for the four day workshop which ran from Monday 23 June to Thursday 26 June.
It was a pilot project, an experimental undertaking and an introduction to life beyond the township — a way to get these children to feel safe, relaxed and confident in a new and strange environment, so that in future they will be able to interact with anyone on an equal basis. That’s what brought our three young mentors together to take these children on an amazing journey of self-discovery.
Crystal-Jade, who recently returned to Cape Town from the UK and Cyprus to continue her studies as a Child and Youth Anthropologist, was excited and exhilarated at the prospect of having a chance to reach out to these children and give them the gift of empowerment .
Speaking about empowerment Crystal-Jade said “Yes there are people less fortunate than ourselves out there, but if we really want to make a difference, we mustn’t pull them up when they fall, but rather show them how to build the strength, power and skills they need to get up and keep getting up on their own when they fall so that they can stand strong and proud once and for all. Believe in them, accept them, open up to them, become their partner throughout life and you’ll see they will do the same for you. Maybe then we can stand strong and proud together and even change the world”.
Yiota chose to join the workshop as she felt it would help her complete a project she is doing for her fashion diploma at Fedisa College.
“My intention was to give the children a sense of self-belief and love as I feel strongly that it is one of the most important skills we can share with each other. It was interesting to observe and to learn from the children the different prejudices they have and how culturally-inclined they are. There was a huge sense of pride when it came to their African roots and they loved to sing and dance. The girls, in particular, were a very expressive group.”
Petros Khaya, a graduate from the Greek Orthodox Seminary in Alexandria, was keen to help out with the workshop and was instrumental in gaining the parents’ written permission for the children to attend. He arranged the taxis for transport and traveled with the children every day to ensure their safety and assisted with the activities that Crystal-Jade and Yiota planned for each day.
The children spent the four days immersed in learning new arts and crafts, singing and dancing, playing sports and interacting with their mentors. They were given breakfast and lunch each day, provided by ladies from the Welfare Committee, and mealtimes were an incredible source of noise and enjoyment!
It was an enriching experience for all participants and the children each received a small cross from His Eminence Archbishop Sergios at the closing ceremony. The Workshop finished on a high note and the successful outcome is all the encouragement we need to plan and produce them on an ongoing basis.