THE Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA) held a boot camp with the theme “Beat Xenophobia Hercules Bootcamp: No to Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia” on Saturday.
The event, which took place at the Alphendale Secondary School, was held in association with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Hercules Bootcamp.
ARESTA is an agency of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The organisation implements programmes in partnership with UNHCR in order to contribute to the successful integration of refugees into the South African society.
The boot camp saw more than 100 participants in attendance, ranging from trained peace ambassadors from Sinvovuyo, Ebenezer Majombozi and Kusile Comprehensive high school schools, as well as trained peace monitors from the University of Fort Hare and Man on a Mission.
Various organisations, including the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro), Child Welfare and the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa), as well as the broader community and a representation from the Ethiopian refugee community, were present.
Participants were taken through various gruelling exercise routines (kick and hi-low, super abs, body-conditioning) by the Hercules Bootcamp coaches.
The event was aimed at creating awareness on the plight and rights of refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa, as well as advocating social cohesion and peace building in the Buffalo Flats and surrounding community.
“We implement various programmes aimed at building tolerance for diversity and peaceful coexistence between South Africans and refugees,” assistant campaign manager for ARESTA Sipiwe Sanggu said.
“Our main goal is to create a society free from crime, racism, discrimination and xenophobia. The boot camp encouraged team work and support for fellow participants encouraging people to work together,” Sanggu enthused.