A 16-year old inspired a community to get their hands dirty and not only clean up their local park but entirely reclaim it too.
Pretoria, South Africa (17 March 2021) – The community of Waterkloof Ridge have decided to work together to reclaim their local park. What was once a lovely green space with trees, a jungle gym and swings for the local children had gradually deteriorated into an overgrown and litter-filled eyesore.
A 16-year old resident, Reuben Kruger, started a community group called Friends of Ridgeview Park to tackle the challenge head-on.
“I remember playing in the park when we moved to the area 8 years ago,” Reuben said. “My younger sister and other children from the area want to visit the park, but it had become totally unusable. It was very overgrown and filled with bottles and other litter. Many residents complained about it, but I thought it would be better if we do something about it!”
He decided to start with a Clean-up day on 13 March and called on the community to come and help with grass-cutting, trimming of undergrowth and picking up litter.
The word spread through social media, and volunteers registered their interest. He also contacted the local ward councillor and received his support for the project.
“I was a bit nervous in the run-up to the day, as there was a lot to coordinate, and I wasn’t sure how many people would come to help,” Reuben explained. “It was amazing when the day dawned, and around 40 volunteers from the neighbourhood joined in the effort. Young and old, everyone got to work, and the enthusiasm was contagious!”
Businesses in the area soon got involved. The local Mica hardware store donated cleaning and gardening equipment, and the Dros restaurant across the street delivered pizzas to the hungry crew.
The community clean-up was a huge success, with the park now clear and litter-free. But Reuben says this is only the start, as there is a lot of repair work on the fence and playground to be done. His long-term plans are to engage with local businesses and other role-players to maintain and even upgrade the park so that the whole community can enjoy and benefit from this green space.
Well done to the Friends of Ridgeview Park for coming together and making a change in their community!