South Africa has been rocked to the core by the horrifying news of little Courtney Pieters' tragic death.
But the awful truth is that Courtney’s story is one of thousands of cases.
28 May to 4 June is National Child Protection Week.
And as a country with some of the scariest statistics of child abuse the world over, it couldn’t be more vital that South Africans get clued up on what they can do to contribute towards positive change.
Shaheema McLeod, director of the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Cape Town, believes that every South African should contribute to keeping our children safe.
"Children are very trusting and often powerless to speak up about the abuse and violence that they experience," Shaheema says. "It is our responsibility as adults to fight for their protection, their safety and their right to security.”
Founder of the Hope House Counselling Centre, Judy Strickland, views community-based counselling as paramount to helping children who have been exposed to violence.
"Not only do many children experience abuse and violence directly in their homes and communities, but they are also exposed to trauma through the loss of friends and fellow school students," says Judy. "Too few children have access to counselling services, where they can speak about and process their experiences, fears and concerns."
The Hope House Counselling Centre has been offering donation-based counselling services to the Cape Town community for 13 years and welcomes parents and children looking for counselling services to get in touch with them.
Raising awareness around adoption and child abandonment is the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (NACSA).
According to their research, two-thirds of abandoned babies die.
NACSA Chairperson, Katinka Pieterse has stated, "The research, although limited, is also a very important step in starting to take responsibility for our abandoned children in South Africa."
"We hope that more places of safety and child and youth care centres will start to keep and share statistics in both the NGO and government sectors as this will improve our understanding and ability to address this difficult social challenge moving forward.”
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Get in touch with these amazing NGOs to find out what you can do to help them continue their work:
The Saartjie Baartman Centre, Manenberg, Cape Town
The Saartjie Baartman Centre has launched a campaign called Help #ChangeHerStory to assist with funding the expansion of their services. The public and companies can pledge via a crowdfunding page, www.thundafund.com/project/changeherstory, to assist with making safe housing, skills training, counselling and childcare support available to abused women and their children.
Hope House Counselling Centre, Bergvliet, Western Cape
Hope House is a counselling centre offering counselling from grief, addictions, trauma and play therapy.
Leliebloem House CYCC, Crawford, Western Cape
The National Adoption Coalition of South Africa, Midrand, Gauteng
The National Adoption Coalition of South Africa is an NGO that represents the child protection community, including social workers, crisis pregnancy homes, child and youth care centres, places of safety and adoption.
072 521 3429
National Adoption Coalition of South Africa Facebook Page
NACSA Youtube channel
Teddy Bear Foundation, Parktown, Gauteng
SOS Children's Villages South Africa, Sandton, Gauteng
A charity assisting vulnerable children and families.
011 234 8708
SOS Children's Villages South Africa Facebook Page
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