The logo for this project “Walk in my Shoes”, is a simple footprint, but if you look carefully you will see that it is the image of Jesus who bows down to carry children on his back

WALK IN MY SHOES

“Can You Help these “Laaities”?

Roughly the same as the English slang word "lads", in South African slang, the word “laaitie” (laaities in the plural) is a word used to describe any youth, or any young person, especially male. You hear this word used everywhere in Hanover Park. Some time ago, one resident there asked me “Can you help these laaities?” I must honestly say that this simple question had an apocalyptic effect on me – it felt like my heart was wrenched out of my body. Spontaneously I heard my heart pray “Saint Don Bosco, help me!”

I asked myself “Who are these laaities”? They are children, young people, the future hope of the world. Every one of them is some mother’s “little baby”, some father’s “treasure”, some grandmother’s “sweetie”. Then I realised that any move aiming to take back the power from gangsters and criminals, is better than none. But I also realised that what was needed was a more holistic approach in order to make Hanover Park safer while also helping those behind the shootings turn their back on a life of crime.

All young people need options. What are their alternatives? What can be done for them so that they can choose a better life? It's easy to say that gangsterism needs to be eradicated. But who is the gangster? He is someone’s child! This reality was a wake-up call for me.

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