By Bontle Lekgoathi - Child Safety and Protection Programme Project Officer
Violence against women and girls can take many forms: physical, sexual, economic, and psychological. All of these are a violation of human dignity and human rights, and have long-lasting consequences for both the survivors and their communities.
It is for this reason, that the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) has organised our Child Safety and Protection Programme (CSP).
The CSP wants a safer learning, teaching and living environment. We do this by establishing child safety interventions. As part of the focus, we aim to reduce corporal punishment, bullying and sexual violence in schools and communities. It’s how we #ServeLikeMadiba.
Our objectives include:
We value partnerships in implementing the programme, which included the active participation of children, families and communities. Furthermore, our strategic partnerships with peer organisations and government departments have enabled us to implement our programme in five provinces, namely:
One of these partnerships is with Home of Hope, who actively respond to the issue of violence against women and girls by creating a platform and process to help children and young people to be their own leaders in life.
For over 10 years, Home of Hope has been helping girls who are at the risk of abduction, sexual violence and living on the street. Part of their work is reuniting girls with their families, using police, social services and municipal offices to assist in locating and assessing the reunification of family networks. The process involves:
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many children cannot be reunited with their family members, and Home of Hope becomes their new home. Here the girls receive counselling with the centre manager, Ms Khanyisile Motsa, who completed trauma counselling training. Mam’Khanyi, as she is affectionately known, has ensured that all her staff are fully qualified in counseling and caregiving, to provide a safe and caring environment.
The girls are then also able to participate in yoga classes and life skill classes which give them the tools to manage stress and gain confidence in their new lives. An integral part of Home of Hope’s rehabilitation programme is ensuring that each child in their care will build skills that can enable them to break free from any dependence upon those who exploit them. The process usually follows this model:
With this support, the girls grow into independent and confident women who can fully participate in society, moving into careers that built a living for them. Some have graduated with university degrees and others continue to work at the centre, using their experience to provide more hope for girls that continue to pass through Home of Hope.
Former President, Mr Nelson Mandela, has taught us that any individual can make a difference and bring change into society. The work of the Fund and places like Home of Hope rely on the public to take action on issues like Gender Based Violence. We all have a responsibility to speak out, and in order to end Violence against Women and Children we all need to play a part, we all need to #ServeLikeMadiba.
As the world prepares to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, South Africans can do something to change the tide of violence against women and children.
The South African parliament has put forward a call for the Children’s Amendment Bill. The call is to have every one of us to contribute to the democratic and legislative processes of our country.
This Children’s Amendment Bill is an opportunity for us to engage with one another about the rights and responsibilities, safety, protection and wellbeing of our children.
The time to act is now, to make input and let your voices be heard in shaping the Children’s Amendment Bill. The Bill is currently open for submissions until the 27th of November 2020.
Comments can be sent to Ms Lindiwe Ntsabo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Play your part, #ServeLikeMadiba, and make your voices be heard!
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