The Drakenstein Child Protection Programme is once again uniting local organisations to empower, uplift, educate, and raise awareness during May for Child Protection Month and Child Protection Week from 28 May to 4 June 2019.
Nine nonprofit organisations currently form part of the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group. These organisations all work directly with child-related initiatives and some of them have been collaborating since 2017 not only during Child Protection Month, but consistently through the year.
The programme works on prevention and early intervention strategies, establishing child protection champion organisations and strengthening the child protection system by taking hands with local child protection services and stakeholders. They also form part of the Connect Network’s Safe Community Strategy with the goal to establish ten safe communities within the Western Cape
The Drakenstein child protection steering group members are Khula Development Group, Salt and Light, Paarl Youth Initiative, Kin Culture, Ma’s-vir-Wellington, Good Hope Psychological Service, Ezrah Community Training and Development NPC, Rise Up with Advocacy and Actionand Valcare.
“Children are the next generation of leaders and therefore caring relational support, quality education and protecting children from harm must be our highest priority. Together we can do more to create a society where children can thrive,” says Mariëtte Jacobs, Managing Director of Ezrah Community Training and Development and Project Manager of the Drakenstein Child Protection Programme.
Child Protection Month 2019 Initiatives
During Child Protection Month and Week, all of the organisations will be wearing green ribbons and displaying child protection signs at their offices, while sharing their child protection initiatives in their social media campaigns. These include:
- Valcare will be launching a new youth mentoring programme between their team members and Paarl Youth Initiative. They are also spreading awareness through online articles, social media and a PR campaign. All the teams that participated in the Valcare Amazing Race also wore green ribbons in celebration of child protection month.
- Ezrah Community Training and Development NPC will train the ten Connect Network safe community leaders in child participation, runa child protection empowerment workshop for community leaders in Drakenstein as well as facilitate youth mentoring training for Valcare and Paarl Youth Initiative. They will also share child protection devotionals, prayer themes and other child protection resources through their website and social media.
- Khula Development Group (Paarl)’s energetic SAGO2SCHOOL mascots, Gogo and friends, will be presenting a fun show to kids at schools in Paarl on how they can keep their bodies safe. They will also host a march at local schools together with local child protection organisations where the children will create and display their own posters with child protection messages. Khula Development Group (Stellenbosch) will have weekly devotionals with staff around child protection, decorate trees and implement body safety and anti-bullying programmes together with local child protection stakeholders.
- Salt and Light will as part of their discipleship programme in Early Childhood Development Centres and Primary Schools in the Cape Winelands, pray for children with specific needs and distribute green ribbons to facilitators.
- Paarl Youth Initiative (PYI)’s Good Company Interact Club will visit Andrew Murray Children’s Home in Wellington to present an informative programme to Grade 1 to 4 learners. A parenting programme where parents are taught to be champions for their children as well as holiday clubs presented to vulnerable children from the rural communities of Northern Paarl, Agter-Paarl and Windmeul are further initiatives that are planned. During May, PYI and Valcare will also kickstart their collaborative youth mentoring programme.
- Kin Culture NPC will host a media awareness campaign for the second official World Foster Day on 31 May 2019 as well as bless the social workers supporting the families in their network to thank them for the great work they are doing.
- Ma’s vir Wellington will be presenting creative lessons to children aged 3-6 years on how special they were made as well as teach them some protective behaviours. They also aim to equip 12 women working directly with children in their ECD and children’s ministry to support traumatised children through the “Walking with wounded children” workshop.
- Good Hope Psychological Service will present workshops to teachers at local schools to equip them with skills to teach children protective behaviour as well as run a puppet show for kids about protective behaviour and children’s rights in collaboration with other local stakeholders.
- Rise up with Advocacy and Action will be hosting a Sunday School competition for 7 churches where Sunday School teachers and parents will also be invited to support the children as part of child protection month.
“The news is filled with devastating stories relating to children, especially in the Western Cape. It can easily become depressing and debilitating, but we firmly believe that through unity there can be change. We call on everyone to get involved with Child Protection Month in one way or another. Everyone has a role to play ,” says Ivan Swartz, CEO of Valcare.