18 July is a birthday of the late former President Nelson R. Mandela, founder of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and its sister organisations. Different organisations, individuals and groups tended to mark the day in one form or another within their own means.
The United Nation Declaration of July 18 as International Mandela Day on November 2009, on the year of Mr. Mandela 91st birthday, helped to release global energy and movement for good and to generally help those in less fortunate circumstances. This is in honour of Mr. Mandela’s 67 years of service to the human struggle for freedom.
To join the world community, the Fund has since marked the day by giving added attention to various causes that fall within its programme work and carried out by implementing partners.
Added attention to these causes comes in the form of placing them on the World Wide Web for interested parties to be familiar with what each project does and the associated needs to carrying out their good work.
What Mandela Day Means
Mandela Day is based on the idea that if every individual dedicates a short amount of time to making the world a better place, there is immense potential for collective good to flourish. Mandela Day is a call to action for every individual, group, corporate, to take responsibility for making the world a better place, one step at a time, in response to areas of need within their communities and guided by means at their disposal.
As the Fund we encourage individuals to find initiatives within their various communities to do their 67 Minutes of service.
Mandela Day is as much an energiser to the Children’s Fund. The joy of being allowed to be children, to play, sing, dance, dream and be lost in the wonder of the innocence of childhood that should be delivered from homelessness, poverty, hunger, harm, danger, vulnerability, neglect and diseases. Any assistance given and received by the Fund or its partners counts to make everyone who shares the vision of the Fund a fellow traveller and commits to the belief that Every Child Counts.
In continuing with Madiba’s legacy of ‘changing the way society treats its children and youth,’ the Fund saw it fit to advocate against the increasing number of sexual violence cases in schools and assist in creating safer environments in schools, especially for girls.
As part of the Mandela Month commemorations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) hosted a 3-day symposium at the Wits Education Campus from Monday, 10 July until Wednesday, 12 July 2017 focusing on the wellbeing of the girl child and their immediate environments.
Throughout the symposium children were encouraged to bring issues that affect them within their immediate environment to the forefront. The Fund’s CEO – Sibongile Mkhabela, National Prosecuting Authority – Ms T.S Xakaza, Department of Education - Mr Malefetsane Mofokeng, Department of Social Development - David Chabalala, together with representatives from the SAPS and UN Women South Africa were some of those that responded to issues raised by the children’s issues.
Some of the issues raised by children included:
Access to Education
Below are some of the comments made by children on the issues above:
Pit toilets, lack of proper sanitation and sanitary pads are some of the issues that cause girl children to get infections or miss school during their maturational cycle. The Clicks Helping Hand Trust donated sanitary packs to all girls attending the symposium and various implementing partners in need.#NMCFGirlsSymposium2017 #Access2Education #SafetyInSchools
Raiufhe Munaka & Kamokgelo Madzivhandila - Limpopo
Every school should have a social worker, teachers lack crucial skills that are important for dealing with challenges kids face.
Safe Schools= learners feel safe and free in the school (elaborate on this point)
Scholar patrols = learners feel safe at schools & are assisted when crossing major roads
Peace clubs = Help encourage educational activities among children & keep them away from the streets( this is not clear)
Respondent: Department of Education - Mr Malefetsane Mofokeng
Department of Education has a 'Schools Safety Strategy' in place to deal with issues of safety in schools.
Issue of over-aged learners:
Policy that should be followed is to retain learners only two times in one phase and not longer than that. From then onward other alternative interventions should be sought out.
Issue of Corporal Punishment:
Classroom Management Policy document gives guidelines on other alternative measures of punishment.
As part of positive change and motivation, Michelle Nkamankeng, a little girl who wrote two books at the age of 6 gave a motivational talk towards the end of the symposium.
"Girl Children like myself are scared in this country...therefore I would like to encourage all girl children to learn to speak out & not be afraid" - Michelle Nkamankeng.
“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation” Nelson Mandela.
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