Puppet show highlights child abuse

2016-10-20 06:00

A STAGGERING 1 220 new child abuse cases were referred to Childline KZN from April 2015 to March 2016.

Unicef states that the early childhood years from birth to age eight are formative years in terms of intelligence, personality and social behaviour. While incidents of child sexual abuse in South Africa are rapidly on the rise, all efforts to curb more incidents are applauded in the formative years.

“An abused child’s story leaves one with chills down your spine and saving just one child from more harm is the ultimate aim. Children must be educated and empowered on how to recognise an adult with bad intentions by talking about the epidemic rather than pretending it doesn’t exist,” said a Just For Baby brand custodian.

An awareness and education programme by Just For Baby in partnership with Childline KZN started in October and will run at 30 identified crèches in Durban.

Childline KZN volunteers will facilitate puppet shows for the little ones to shine the spotlight on good feelings like kindness and love versus bad feelings like sadness and fear.

The puppet shows will bring to life two characters that the children can relate to, who engage in friendly dialogue about inappropriate touching.

Mr Good and Mr Bad will point out subtle themes to assist children, as young as they are, to protect themselves and to create awareness around this too often taboo subject of child sexual abuse.

“We at Childline KZN are excited to be partnering with the Just For Baby initiative as this increases our reach to abused children throughout KZN.

“Marico South Africa - the owners of Just For Baby - is a company that shares the same vision as Childline, to increase social impact and make a difference, to empower by helping to make a difference thereby eradicating social ills,” said Adeshini Naicker from Childline’s crisis line and outreach department.

“The school environment, from a previous campaign held last year, enabled active engagement with the children. This resulted in communication with the teachers, parents and broader community resulting in one disclosure of abuse from a child victim as a result of their feedback

“. After the shocking revelation the necessary support and counseling services were provided,” said a spokesperson for Just For Baby.

“The children are expected to engage actively with the puppets by answering questions, as in the previous campaign. All children will receive a Just For Baby goodie bag to take home. The crèche itself will also receive Star and Birthday Charts, with crayons for each classroom.”

Based on the exceptionally positive and encouraging feedback received from the school, pupils and parents, Just For Baby is continuing this journey targeting younger more vulnerable children aged three to six.

- Supplied.

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