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The following was published by the Bedfordview and Edenvale News.

Read the original story here.

Originally published on 4 October 2013.

School pupils in Edenvale have taken a stand and said no more.

No more drugs and no more crime in Edenvale.

Over 800 pupils from various Edenvale schools let their voices be heard during the Walk Against Crime to Karaglen Shopping Centre on Friday for the official launch of the Karaglen Tiles 4 Change.

Tiles 4 Change aims to give the youth of Edenvale the support they need to be the change they want to see in the community.

In his address to the children, the owner of the Karaglen Shopping Centre and Karaglen SuperSpar, Mr Harry Karamichael said Tiles 4 Change is about the community, its families and its children.

“Most importantly, it is about all of you, the school pupils. This idea came about because you have decided to make a special promise that you support Tiles 4 Change and a drug-free Edenvale,” said Mr Karamichael.

“Not only did you make that promise, but you turned that promise into action and you marched up Baker Road with your banners and demanded a drug-free Edenvale,” he said.

“That promise was magical because it grabbed the attention of some extraordinary people and it generated so much energy that we decided to dedicate a wall to your cause and invited everyone to back your promise. Karaglen Super Spar and the centre backs your promise and this morning Edenvale SAPS station commander Colonel Sam Maredi listened to your voices and he backs your promise,” said Mr Karamichael.

The Edenvale Community Police Forum (ECPF), security providers, SAPS, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD), businesses and residents also showed their support for the children and pledged to help them whenever it was needed.

On the day, school pupils had the opportunity to purchase the first of hundreds of tiles for the wall.

“The whole community is behind you. Look around you and watch our wall grow and know that the money we generate will be used to help our schools and the community fight drugs,” said Mr Karamichael.

Speaking on behalf of all Edenvale’s schools, principal for Eastleigh Primary School Mrs Belinda Cooke-Tonnesen, said it is time for Edenvale to fight back and eradicate the scourge of drugs that continues to threaten the community.

“Drugs are a menace to society. They threaten our morals and values and undercut out institutions. Drugs are killing our children,” she said.

Col Maredi congratulated the pupils for taking a stand and being the first step to change in Edenvale.

“Without you, we cannot fight drugs, we cannot fight crime. I thank each and every one of you for what you have done today,” he said.

The children were also treated to a demonstration by the EMPD Dog Unit.

Residents who want to support this initiative can obtain pledge forms from ECPF members, Mrs Linda McKenzie on 083 973 7093 or Mrs Sheryl Damerell on 082 575 6130.

Alternatively, pledge forms will be available from Karaglen SuperSpar.

Tiles for school pupils cost R10 while adults pay R50 and businesses pay R1 000.

The funds raised from tile purchases will be used to help Edenvale’s schools fight drugs and drug abuse, as well as support a number of charities in Edenvale.