A strong message around supporting children and protecting them against all forms of abuse went out to schools and community members attending the Child Protection Activity held by MIET AFRICA and Fumana High School in the Vryheid District on 29 May.
Over 700 people attended the Child Protection Activity, which was coupled with service delivery by various government departments including the Departments of Education,Social Development, Health, Agriculture and Home Affairs. The activity was aimed at increasing community awareness of different forms of abuse and also at instilling a sense of protection of children both in schools and in the community.
The guest speaker, Mrs. Dludla, the DoE Social Worker, spoke powerfully about sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child labour, neglect, statutory rape, HIV and AIDS and the right to education. Parents were warned against hiding bad things happening in their homes or communities. She also reminded educators to facilitate the learning process effectively by supporting children and protecting them from any form of abuse.
Those present were also introduced to Community Capacity Enhancement which will involve them in community dialogues in order to discuss issues and develop solutions to them. The HIV/AIDS Directorate from Vryheid DoE office also addressed the community and learners about issues of teenage pregnancy and HIV infection and the support that they should give to their children.
Learners performed a drama on the importance of avoiding early pregnancy and consequences of teenage pregnancy, as well as songs, poems and traditional dance related to child protection.
In addition to the child protection focus, different government department officials delivered talks and explained services they provide before offering them then and there: the Department of Agriculture provided free seeds to people who had brought their IDs along, the Department of Health attended to people suffering from various ailments, and Home Affairs processed 39 IDs.
The activity day as a whole strengthened multisectoral collaboration around child protection and also boosted learner participation by allowing them to express their feelings about their rights in different ways.