Mark, Sanjit and Roshini Pakkiree. Keeping the flame of their son's loving and caring personality alive for ever, Roshini and Mark are launching the Sanjit Pakkiree Train of Hope Project to promote awareness of and assist with problems in underprivileged schools. Photo supplied.
Date: 27 January 2019 By: Jo Robinson
The Sanjit Pakkiree Train of Hope Awareness Project is launching in 2019, set up and managed by the late Sanjit Pakkiree’s parents, Roshini and Mark Pakkiree, in memory of their son. Sanjit was their only child when he passed away unexpectedly on 25 October 2017 at the age of 16. He was a well-known and much-loved Form 3 student at Ridgeway College in Louis Trichardt at the time.
Roshini and Mark have named this non-profit programme the Sanjit Pakkiree Train of Hope Project in honour of their son because they strongly believe that his loving and caring personality should never be forgotten, and because of his ingrained desire to help others. “He was an extrovert,” said Roshini. “A bubbly young man, always laughing and smiling, with an ocean’s capacity of love and respect, and just the same capacity when it came to his very busy social life. Sanjit had friends all over, of all cultures and ages, both younger and older than himself. He touched the lives of many with empathy and respect, even though he could be mischievous.”
Taking all of this into consideration, Roshini and Mark realised that they wanted to continue to spread hope, love, and laughter in Sanjit’s name. “His love for people should not be forgotten or left unnoticed. That is why we are launching this Crime Awareness Programme in our son’s name. As for the future, Mark and I hope that this project will continue and grow. This is only the beginning, and more projects will follow, so that Sanjit’s Train of Hope will travel on for many years.”
The main focus of the project will be awareness of and help with matters that challenge many young people, from pre-school to high school age, as well as tangible assistance in the form of donations to those in need. Topics to be addressed during awareness drives will include serious problems that can affect individuals and communities negatively for many years. The Department of Social Development and the South African Police Service (SAPS) will be on hand to offer support to this programme along the way, with other role players, including local pastors, local businesses, and the media.
Roshini is an ex-police officer with 26 years of experience with the SAPS in different departments before settling as head of communication at the Makhado SAPS. “Throughout my career I had a lot to do with kids of all ages and had much interaction in terms of social crime prevention. My passion for helping them grew while I worked in communication and as I became more involved in school crime-awareness programmes.”
She was in the initial stages of just such a project when Roshini suffered the enormous personal tragedy of losing her son unexpectedly and suddenly. Even though Roshini and Mark realised that they would not give up on this project, she left the police force to find healing for her own pain for a time. Now the Pakkirees are back and determined to help restore hope in as many young lives as they can, giving hurting or needy children reasons to live safer and more fulfilled lives. The project aims to root out instances of bullying, drug use, theft, and instances of sexual and other assault, by sharing awareness of how to spot these things, as well as hands-on help from relevant sources or authorities to prevent reoccurrence or assist with repercussions.
While Sanjit’s Train of Hope Project aims to help needy children and schools with the basic physical requirements of meals and hygiene products for girls as much as possible, the main focus is awareness of the problems that often face school-going children.
“Bullying occurs in all areas of schools, even though it often goes unnoticed by adults,” said Roshini, “mostly during breaks, in bathrooms and in buses or waiting areas for buses. Bullying at school sometimes consists of a group of learners taking advantage of or isolating one learner in particular and gaining the loyalty of bystanders who want to avoid being the next victim.” The programme will spread awareness of the warning signs of children being bullied and what to do about it when it is found. With the knowledge and experience gained over her many years with situations such as these, Roshini will also spread awareness of the prolific use of drugs, their effects, and how to help drug users and schools to fight this problem. Serious issues in certain schools in this area today include theft, teenage pregnancy and sexual and other forms of assault.
The aim of the Sanjit Pakkiree Train of Hope Project is to make serious strides not only towards people becoming more aware of these problems and the effect they have on individuals and society, but to work actively to lessen both their occurrence and their impact. Contact Roshini Pakkiree to find out more about what the community and local businesses can do to assist with this project at 083 495 7265.
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.