Programme to keep kids safe

2019-09-25 06:00

The Thari Programme in the Free State is envisaged to provide a sustainable method of fighting violence against women and children in communities and schools.

Implemented in 2017 by the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, it will run until 2021. At a conference held at the Kopano Nokeng Country Lodge in Bloemfontein on 6 September, it was revealed that plans have been made to extend it to other provinces.

The project is aimed at increasing safety and promoting health.

The Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation has partnered with the Adopt-a-School Foundation to facilitate the initiative at eight schools in Botshabelo. These were identified specifically because of a high rate of crime and violence.

At the conference, stakeholders discussed the programme’s impact, achievements and challenges, as well as new ways to combat crime and violence against learners, and women and children in communities.

To date 2 474 beneficiaries have been reached through awareness campaigns, and 618 have been provided with psychosocial support services.

It has further reached 2 366 bene­ficiaries through safe-park activities, and led to the establishment of four stakeholder forums.

Child and youth care workers have been trained to provide psychosocial support services. Such care workers also work at the safe park at the Reentseng Primary School.

The safe park is a space in which children can play and learn after school, on weekends and during school holidays. The care workers render intervention where required, and host forums through which boys and fathers are encouraged to discuss issues like masculinity and dealing with emotions.

Molefi Khotlolo, one of the care workers, has called for better coopera­tion amongst the stakeholders to tackle the challenges hampering progress.

Tshidi Maaga, chief director for child protection of the Department of Social Development, said violence and crime affect all children, not only girls.

While the problems of the girl child have taken centre stage for quite some time, it was highlighted that boys should not be left behind.

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