In the midst of alarming child abuse and neglect statistics, we find great hope when organisations unite to collaborate on child protection. Therefore, we are so proud of the members of our Child Protection Empowerment Steering Group, who held the green flag high during Child Protection Month in May and National Child Protection Week, that was celebrated from 29 May to 6 June this year.
The National Child Protection Week is commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness on the rights of children as articulated in the Constitution and Children’s Act (Act. No. 38 of 2005). The green ribbon is worn as a symbol of commitment to advance children’s rights and to be ambassadors for child protection.
Ezrah Community Training and Development NPC celebrated Child Protection Month by implementing several child protection projects during May:
In collaboration with Bridges Retreat Centre – Outdoor Education Programme, we equipped 24 educators to implement our LEAD child participation model during an educator’s camp. During Child Protection Week, Ezrah also trained Legacy Community Development and Love to Give in Stellenbosch on implementing our BuildSmart Parenting Mentoring Toolkit.
Our joy is even greater, when we see our child protection steering group members making a consorted effort to wear their green ribbons and to roll out different projects within their respective contexts. Ezrah kicked of the preparation for child protection month on a high note by sharing child protection resources 1 and by equipping our child protection steering group members with skills on identifying and reporting child abuse. From the initial planning and ideas, our member organisations stepped out to implement different campaigns and projects, which were relevant to their context. As all the projects are too many to mention, we would like to highlight a few of the projects that were rolled out across the Cape Winelands.
Several organisations, including Inceba Trust and Ikamva Foundation in Mbekweni shared information and celebrated World Foster Day on the 31 st of May to create awareness for foster care and to celebrate foster families – see worldfosterday.org/.
This campaign initiated by Kin Culture NPC gains momentum every year. Kin Culture NPC also shared video clips on child protection parenting tips through social media. In addition, Khula Development in collaboration with Badisa Paarl facilitated a fun workshop for foster parents in Paarl-East.
Please see our resource page on www.ezrah.co.za/child-protection-resources/
Khula Development Group launched several other child protection initiatives, but the highlight of 2023 was without a doubt their creative humane education project with their mascots Go-Go and So-So. This two-week project saw the incorporation of nine schools from Paarl-East to Stellenbosch, teaching children to treat animals with empathy and compassion.
Khula DG was supported by Rescue Obsessed, an animal welfare organisation, that gave the children some practical pet care tips. In order to advance caring communities, educators were equipped with lesson plans to help children implement what they have learned. Children even had the opportunity to participate in a poster competition.
This project gained a lot of momentum when Khula shared their campaign’s resources with our steering group members, which led to more organisations such as Ma’s vir Wellington implementing similar humane education projects. There is a huge opportunity for role- players to advance child protection in South Africa by recognizing the link between child well-being and humane education.
We furthermore saw the Department of Social Development (Paarl), Childline Western Cape, Stellcare Stellenbosch, Drakenstein se Jong Doudruppels, Badisa (Paarl and Wellington) as well as others rolling out projects to strengthen child protection, to reduce bullying, to equip the community on reporting child abuse and to create awareness on children’s rights as well as the strengthening of parenting skills.
Lastly, Paarl Youth Initiative implemented their annual child protection project, where their teenagers visited the children at House Andrew Murray to play games with them and to share stories of encouragement.
We are so grateful for the great progress and collaboration since launching our Child Protection Empowerment Programme 3 in 2017 as well as all the lessons learned. As Mariëtte Jacobs, the MD of Ezrah and coordinator of the Child Protection Empowerment Programme shares, “The great takeaway from this year’s Child Protection Month is that alone we can do so little, but by taking hands and sharing ideas, strategies and resources we can accomplish so much. We therefore salute every child protection ambassador who takes up this baton.”
Together, with a firm commitment to act in the best interest of our children, we can empower the next generation as leaders of change.
Enjoy these lovely videos from Ma’s vir Wellington and Inceba Trust
Read more at greytonfarmsanctuary.org/education/
See Caps-aligned lesson plans at www.naturebased.education/ – (previously known as Caring Classrooms)
See worldanimal.net/our-programs/humane-education/the-need-for-humane-education for research
Learn more about our programmes www.ezrah.co.za/programmes/