Daniel and Friends Fund

Daniel and Friends Fund
The Daniel and Friends Fund...creating the platform for a stronger, more intimate special needs community

What is the Daniel and Friends Fund?

On the 23rd August 2013 little Daniel le Roux lost his lengthy and courageous battle with Leigh Syndrome, exactly one week after another little warrior, Mariele Laurie, succumbed to complications of the syndrome she suffered from, Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome. Professor Pieter Fourie, whose care of and love for Daniel and Mariele had gone over and beyond anything which might be considered fair professional expectation, was determined not to allow the heartache and devastation caused by such tragedy to go without lending itself to a higher purpose...and so shortly after Mariele and Daniel had earned their angel wings, Professor Fourie shared with Kate and Lianie, their mothers, his vision for an organisation which would provide much-needed support for other parents who might be on a similar journey. Just a few short months later, the Daniel and Friends Fund was born guided by, by this time, three special needs mothers, each symbolic of the three friends who had helped Daniel in the Biblical passage from which Professor Fourie had drawn his inspiration.

Since their launch in February 2014, the Daniel and Friends Fund (a registered non-profit organisation) and the dedicated and driven people behind it, have provided not only the emotional and psychological support often sought by parents of children with special needs, but have also committed to ensuring that these parents have had access to the necessary knowledge and training in order to equip them to care for their children in the best possible way that they can. While largely focusing on top priority issues like providing extremely affordable CPR courses, free therapy sessions, psychology-based programs for the parents, occasional donations of items/equipment necessary for caring for a child with special needs...the importance of also creating a fundamental base from which friendships and 'normalcy' can stem has not gone overlooked. To this end, the Daniel and Friends Fund mommies are often treated on special days like Mother's Day and Women's Day and, where possible, these invitations are extended to the entire family for celebrations such as Mandela Day, Christmas Day, etc.

The purpose of our blog is not only to provide the opportunity for sponsors, supporters and followers to stay in touch with the various projects and events we're busy with but also, and just as importantly, to provide an insight for others into what life entails for families on a special needs journey, as well as enlightening fellow parents to the fact that this journey need not be travelled alone...

Sunday, April 17, 2016


On Saturday, 9th April, the Daniel and Friends Fund was excited to host its very first Anti-Hijacking Course, facilitated by Robert Martin of Global Learning Services, an ex-member of the South African Police Services. 

The Workshop covered the following :

Criminals and their Tactics :
  • Criminals work either on their own or as part of a gang, most gangs of which work for syndicates
  • Criminals approach their lifestyle as if it were a profession, affording it almost the same amount of planning and commitment, particularly as motives predominantly revolve around money
Reasons for Hijacking:
  • Anti-theft devices make simply stealing the cars harder
  • Although hijacking is far more risky for the criminal, the financial gain makes it worth it
  • Hijacking is considered a petty crime so, if caught, the criminal would face a lesser sentence
  • Hijacked vehicles can be sold for an instant R5 000.00 (sometimes more if "ordered" by a syndicate) and can take less than 2 hours to be stripped by the "chop shop"
Types of Hijacking:
  • Spontaneous - usually carried out by an opportunist who spots a negligent victim
  • Planned - a specific car "ordered" (usually through a syndicate). This particular type of hijacking usually requires observing the target's routine for some time first. 
Most common places for Hijackings to take place :
  • When target is leaving/returning home
  • Entrance/exit to place of work
  • Intersections
  • Petrol stations
  • Outside shops, roadhouses, etc
  • Parking lots/garages at shopping centres
  • Narrow, isolated streets
  • High-crime areas
  • Popular locations eg. "lovers' lane", etc
Tactics hijackers use to fool their victims :
  • Dressing up as police officers, hitch-hikers, car guards, street hawkers at intersections NB If a police vehicle instructs you to pull off the road, indicate to them that you are going to drive to the nearest police station and they should follow
  • Pretending to be good Samaritans, eg. trying to pull you off the road by telling you your wheel is flat
  • Faking an accident scene NB In the case of arriving at an accident scene, never leave your vehicle.  Stay alert and call an ambulance from your car.
  • Pretending to need directions
  • Bumping into your vehicle
Hijackers Planning :
  • The hijacker will observe your routine and plan ahead - make a habit of occasionally changing your route, etc. particularly if your routine involves things like banking large amounts of cash on set days, etc
  • Hijackers will often work in a team so that one members can distract the victim
  • They will always target the driver as he/she has control of the vehicle

Weapons most often used :
  • Firearms (including homemade firearms)
  • Knives
  • Batons
  • Stones
  • Tear gas or pepper spray
  • Spark plug (to shatter the window)

Safety and Prevention :
  • Always plan your route ahead of time and identify alternate routes in the event that you find your safety feeling compromised
  • Avoid routine
  • Always tell colleagues/family where you are going and which route you will be going
  • When approaching your vehicle, have your keys ready in your hand and scan the area around your vehicle. Enter and exit vehicle as quickly as possible
  • Leave your window/s (particularly the passenger window) with a 5-10cm gap. This reduces the severity of the shattered window and might deter a hijacker.
  • Advise colleagues/family when you have arrived at your destination
  • Make a habit of scanning your surroundings for possible threats, particularly when at intersections, and where possible advise your passenger to do the same.
  • Refrain from using a cellphone while in your car.  Apart from being illegal, it is a driver's biggest distraction.
  • Always keep your cellphone on your body, in case of being thrown out of the car
There are five stages of alert :

White :   when you are in your comfort zone, distracted and oblivious to your surroundings
Yellow : you are remotely aware but not perceiving danger
Orange : you are alert of non-specific danger
Red :      you are concerned and have reason to believe there is clear and present danger
Black :   you are under attack

Your vehicle :
  • To be kept in good working order
  • All valuables to be kept out of sight
  • Weapons to be kept within reach
  • Doors to be kept locked
Tactical driving when approaching an intersection :
  • Reduce your speed slowly
  • Pre-select your gears
  • Maintain a "creep" distance between yourself and the car in front of you
  • Constantly survey the area
  • Allow for a survival space between yourself and the car in front of you once you have stopped
  • Mentally prepare an escape plan
  • When stopped, leave your car in first gear with your hand on the pulled up handbrake and your foot on the accelerator
What to do if a hijacker instructs you to exit your vehicle :
  • Raise both hands to shoulder height (never higher as this draws attention to yourself which in turn draws attention to the hijacker who will then panic and react)
  • Always keep your right hand up in defence position
  • Use only your left hand when given instructions - release your seatbelt with your left hand and unlock and open your door with your left hand
  • Slowly get out of your vehicle
  • Tell the hijacker what you are doing as you perform each action
  • Exit to the right, rear of the vehicle
  • Do not attempt to make eye contact with the hijacker but instead keep your focus down while trying to observe any marks of identification
  • Always answer the hijacker truthfully

What to do if the hijacker has a firearm pointed at you :
  • Do not do anything to alarm the hijacker (eg. scream, try to hit the firearm from him)
  • Never initiate any movement without instruction from the hijacker
  • Obey all instructions
  • Do not make eye contact
  • Move your hands only when instructed
After the hijacking :
  • Get to a safe place and report the incident immediately
  • Seek professional intervention, particularly if a child/children were in the vehicle at the time
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
We wish to thank Robert for his hugely informative workshop and encourage
community members to contact him on robert@emergencysa.com for further information.


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