Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo
07 June 2022
Indawo Yesizo Foundation in conjunction with Bethal SAPS, ESKOM, HABPS Security services, Disaster management, and Department of Education, Mpumalanga Emergency Services, Mzinoni SAPS and Empower Machite held child protection week campaign on 01 June 2022 at HM Swart Primary School.
The objective of the event was to educate learners about child safety and prevention from suffering further harm by addressing the vulnerabilities and risk factors, promoting child’s welfare, health and development.
Thirteen (13) schools with twenty (20) learners from each school within Govan Mbeki Municipality were invited meanwhile only nine (9) of those schools honored the invite.
Constable Thomas Mogadime, the Communications and Social Crime Prevention Officer from Bethal SAPS stated that the National Child Protection Week in South Africa is an event to raise awareness of children’s rights as they’re set out in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and Children’s Act.
The campaign is primarily led by the South African government, namely by the Department of Social Development in partnership with other government departments and civil society organizations who look after child protection services.
“Government calls on all South Africans to support Child Protection Week by ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society do not suffer abuse.
It is in our hands to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation of children
Children in South Africa live in a society with a Constitution that has the highest regard for their rights and for the equality and dignity of everyone.
Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is not only a basic value but also an obligation clearly set out in Article 28 of the South African Constitution,’’ emphasized Const Mogadime.
He further mentioned that according to the South African Constitution, every child is entitled to the following:
– A name and nationality;
– Family care, or appropriate alternative care;
– Basic nutrition, shelter, health care and social services;
– Protection from neglect, maltreatment and abuse; and
– Protection from being used in armed conflict and protection during times of armed conflict.
– Protection from exploitative labour services, including work or services that are inappropriate.
The event was also braced by Aisha Khan, who shook the crowd of their seats and made them aware of their rights and the right people to approach when seeking advice and help.
“Find an adult you can trust, if you are going through challenges but do not turn to your friends because they will not be able to help you as they too are children just like you,” said Khan.
“If you are a child and you are being abused by adults, do not keep quite about it.
If someone touches you in an improper manner, report it and do not be ashamed.
Adults might threaten you, but believe me those are idol threats meant to shut you up,” said Khan explaining further that those threats are like the boogyman under the bed which does not exist but just a tale meant to scare you.
Khan discouraged bullying and encouraged the learners to be their real selves and not succumb to peer pressure.
In an activity done with the children, most learners reflected distrust towards adults with some stating that they feel unloved by friends and family.
Ms Nomfundo Mahlangu from the Govan Mbeki Municipality Disaster Management office made a presentation on how to be safe during fire.
This was achieved through a song “If your clothes catch a fire, roll baby, roll”.
Mahlangu emphasized that the song means that if your clothes catch fire you have to roll down to put out the fire as it lives on oxygen.
“If you run or walk faster the fire burns even more to the supply of oxygen,” said Mahlangu.
She stated further that in case of a fire, one has to crawl under the smoke to avoid being choked by the fire
All representatives from other departments made their presentation and educated the learners about safety and children’s responsibilities.
The Circuit Manager from the Department of Basic Education, Mr PN Mabala thanked everyone for supporting the initiative and mentioned that with communities working together with the South African Police Service and other organizations, the children will grow in an environment where there will be peace and harmony.
“This event was not only informative to children, we also learned interesting things today which we were not aware about like the presentation made by Ms Mahlangu,” said Mabala.