Child care champion honoured

2009-01-19 00:00

YVONNE Spain, outgoing director of Cindi (Children in Distress Network), was yesterday credited with putting KwaZulu-Natal on the map as the province where the children’s sector enjoys the highest level of attention and where service delivery to children is steadily becoming a priority.

This praise by Lwazi Phelela of the Inkanyeni Child Welfare Society in Eshowe was one of several tributes paid to Spain at a farewell party at the Cathedral of Holy Nativity in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Spain, a founding member of Cindi, leaves the organisation after an association of more than 10 years. Speakers mentioned Spain’s high ethical standards, her passion for her work and her tough stance on ensuring that children are protected.

Phelela thanked Spain for constantly reminding them that children were at the centre of their work and the importance of good governance.

“You told us that with effective governance in place we will stop chasing after funding and allow funding to chase us.”

Community Chest Director, Aroo Naidoo, who is also chairman of the Cindi board, said he had never before seen such a large gathering at a farewell function for a director of a non-profit organisation. He said this showed the high regard in which Spain is held in the NGO sector and the community.

Spain said she is leaving because “the season has come to leave” and because the organisation is in good hands.

The children’s rights advocate is not going into retirement, but is starting a new NGO with paediatrician Dr Neil Mckerrow.

Her new charges will be sick children from rural areas who spend long periods in hospital away from their families. The aim of the project is for the Pietermaritzburg community to rally behind these children and ensure that their educational, emotional and social needs are met.

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