Kraaifontein kids have bright ideas about street lights

The seven Kraaifontein AME Primary School pupils who took part in the Light Up! Design Thinking Exhibition show off their certificates. From left, are Azaleah van Wyk, Noah Durham, Hadassan Oknais, Cee-Jay Booysen, Clara Williams, Liam Lester and Azaleah Oliver. Picture: Sibulele Kasa.

Seven Kraaifontein AME Primary School pupils have produced designs for street lights to better illuminate their communities.

The children, aged 7 to 9, received certificates on Monday after taking part in the Light Up! Design Thinking Exhibition at the school.

The project was run by NoStop, a non-profit organisation, giving children a chance to show how to improve public spaces.

“In this case, we are focusing on the street lights and how we can make the streets safer for children,” said Sodam Lee, the organisation’s art programme coordinator.

NoStop director Charlene Miles, said the project was inspired by Play Africa, a children’s museum in Johannesburg.

“Play Africa is known worldwide for the projects in design thinking that they do – this is their approach – and we are implementing it in our own community.”

NoStop won an R18 000 prize from Play Africa in October to implement this project and other educational initiatives.

Ms Miles said the participants were asked what they wanted to change in their communities, and they could interview their parents and other adults.

“They wanted lights because when it’s dark they are scared to walk in the streets. The cars can cause accidents or you can be hijacked – all these things came out when we were interacting with these little ones. At the end of the day, they decided to invent lights.”

NonStop made working models of street lights based on the children’s design ideas. Those models were displayed at the exhibition on Monday when the children also spoke to their peers about what they had learnt.

School principal Douglas Oormeyer said many of the school’s pupils came from disadvantaged homes.

”Every opportunity to build their character is important for us, so presenting this programme for our learners is a benefit.”

Ms Lee said the next exhibition and workshop would take place early in the new year in Scottsdene.

NoStop art programme coordinator Sodam Lee switches on the model street lights at the exhibition on Monday. Picture: Sibulele Kasa.
Hadassan Oknais, 8, talks about what she learnt during the project. She is pictured with NoStop art programme coordinator Sodam Lee, left, and NoStop director Charlene Miles. Picture: Sibulele Kasa.