In 1979, the need to protect the rights and welfare of the African child was noted by the Organisation of African Unity (origin of the African Union). This culminated in the development of the African Charter. South Africa ratified the African Charter on 7 January 2000. However, 40 years later the situation remains the same…
“NOTING WITH CONCERN that the situation of most African children remains critical due to the unique factors of their socio-economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances, natural disasters, armed conflicts, exploitation and hunger, and on account of the child’s physical and mental immaturity he/she needs special safeguards and care.”
(The above is an extract from the AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS AND WELL-BEING OF THE CHILD.)
Leaving a blotch on us as South Africans and honestly speaking, very little change has taken place as far as child protection, rights and responsibilities are concerned.
When moving around Africa, as we have been doing for years, very few people know little and understand even less on anything about the rights and welfare of the child. Many Africans believe it is a modern European concept imposed on us, HOWEVER, with the right input, education and training, it is amazing to see the ‘Aha!’ factor when people are exposed to the truth and faced with the MANY FACES OF ABUSE. There seems to be a genuine desire to bring change.
Thereafter the desire to be the change agents materialised – leaders in 6 countries in Africa have taken Child Protection to another level.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” ~ Desmond Tutu
I remember being asked in an interview, “so all this child protection, will we ever see change?” I would love to believe that we will, as we continue to find ways and means of bringing truth and tools to the challenges we face in Africa and South Africa. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9
IT IS TIME. We will continue the struggle until it is done! Strength and growth come through continuous effort, prayer, persistence, patience, self-sacrifice and unselfishness.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IN AFRICA – FOR AFRICA, BY AFRICA – GCF’S SOCIAL JUSTICE IS AN AFRI-CENTRIC PROGRAMME
An innovative tool to bring about understanding for children’s safeguarding, ensuring there is a commitment to child protection and policies for organisations; faith-based organisations, boards, traditional leaders, municipalities, businesses, schools and communities.
GCF’s social justice is very Afri-centric, working with the African Charter has made this programme extremely successful in bringing change to the religious fraternity in Africa. It’s a kinaesthetic way of learning through: workshopping, dialoguing, group and tactile work.
Social Justice is an exciting programme to be part of and the idea that #ChildProtectionIsEveryonesBusiness makes everyone believe that they have the power to change things now, which is what we want to achieve! Immediate change in communities, schools and households with regards to child protection.
Give a Child a Family believes that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. EMPOWERMENT is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, BUILDING people and releasing and unlocking the doors for growth and change.
“CHILD PROTECTION IN SA: A BLEAK STATE OF AFFAIRS”
Commitment samples made of South African faith -based and traditional leaders:
“I commit to make sure my home is a safe space for children, women and the vulnerable.”
“I commit to make sure no one’s rights are trampled on in any space I find myself in.”
“I commit to being a person that anyone, including children, can trust wholly to ensure that I don’t betray anyone’s confidence in dealing with their sensitive issues.”
“I commit to being a brother, uncle, father, and a positive role model to anyone that might want to follow my example.”
“I commit to never turn a blind eye to anyone’s rights being compromised and help in any way.”
Comments from participants who attended the GCF social justice workshops:
“I’ve learned what I used to do to my children and grandchildren needs to change, imposing things on them without conssidering their views and feelings. Learn to listen to my children. Learn to stop being angry with my children when they have done something wrong. Stop being a monster.”
“I have learned that we cannot continue to blame the past for things that happened before instead we can stand together and improve our way forward. I felt that as things stand the abuse of the upbringing of kids around South Africa, people are too busy to see what is wrong or not try to help a little one, instead we spend so much time on things which are not important.”
“Unity in our diversity. Never get stuck on past negative practices. Make family units conductive to raising kids.”
(South coast herald)