South Africa shifts focus to child protection

[Image]Children’s rights will come under the
spotlight during Child Protection Week,
and beyond.
(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For
more free photos, visit the image library)

[Image]A green ribbon, worn during Child
Protection Week, shows solidarity with
the cause of children.

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Source: BuaNews

Protecting the nation’s young and most vulnerable will take centre stage come 31 May, as South Africa enters a seven-day show of solidarity with the cause of its children.

Child Protection Week will be officially launched by Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini on that day, and the objective this year is no different to previous years: looking after South Africa’s youngsters.

The week-long campaign is an opportunity to raise the profile of children, and to mobilise community action and response to breaches of child protection. There is always the expectation that the week will go further in awakening awareness beyond the seven days.

This year’s campaign, which marks 14 years since the launch of Child Protection Week, will take place under the theme Tshwaragano ka bana – Working together to protect children.

As part of the launch to be held at Abraham Kriel Childcare centre in Johannesburg, Dlamini will talk about planned activities, as well as the government’s ongoing programmes, including alternative care, social assistance and other measures to address child abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Talking to South Africa’s children

The highlight of the launch will be the child participation programme, where a panel comprising Dlamini, the Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Member of the Executive Council for Health and Social Development Ntombi Mekgwe, and Lulu Xingwana, the minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, will hold a dialogue with children on a range of matters affecting them in their communities.

Representatives of NGOs and international development agencies such as Unicef and Save the Children will also take part in the discussion.

“Families and communities are the first line of response,” said Dlamini.

She added that the aim of Child Protection Week campaign is to strengthen families and communities, and encourage them to play a role in the early identification of children that need support, so that they can speedily be linked with appropriate services provided by government and community based organisations.

Other activities to take place during Child Protection Week and beyond include the launch of the Early Childhood Development campaign on 1 June at KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga province; the launch of a children’s services directory in Durban on 2 June; commemoration of the International Day for Families on 3 June in uMthatha, Eastern Cape; and the commemoration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking on 26 June at Sasolburg in the Free State province.

Wear the green ribbon

The government and childcare organisations urge South Africans to wear the green ribbon during Child Protection Week to show their support for the rights, care and protection of the child. The green ribbon means:

  • Protection of children;
  • Green signifies life and growth;
  • Nurturing our children will give them hope;
  • Wearing a green ribbon is a token of care and support;
  • Stand up and commit to enforcing children’s rights.