MEC for Human Settlements Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe on Child Protection Week

The Child Protection Week, a campaign led by the Department of Social Development was initiated in 1997 to raise awareness and to mobilize all sectors and communities towards the perspective of a holistic development and the care and protection of children. This has become an Annual Campaign to educate and mobilize communities to put children first since then.

This week-long campaign was launched on the 2nd of June this year in Orange Farm with the aim to heighten government efforts to ensure that the rights of children are upheld. However,the Gauteng Social Development has adopted 365 Days Child Protection Programme, as we realized that the children related issues need attention daily.According to a Clinical Psychologist, EddieWolff, there's been a marked increase in bullying at schools, especially among younger pupils.Wolff says there are far-reaching effects on the lives of children who feel excluded from the so-called in-crowd."It also affects their interaction with other pupils in the school and will almost always lead to underperformance or nonattendance of certain sport or cultural activities. They tend to withdraw because they don't want to feel bullied."

Last year, a major initiative was launched between the Department of Education, Crimeline and the South African Police Service to stop what appeared to be a growing scourge of school violence in the country.Children are often violent towards one another and this affects, a child’s self-esteem. In some cases, pupils despise going to school and end up dropping out as bullying tramples on their self-worth and in extreme cases, they commit suicide.Recent incidents of bullying in schools raises concerns in a manner in which our pupils behave in and outside schools:

  • On Monday, a pupil was alleged to have stabbed three pupils, leaving one dead outside Forest High School;
  • In March,Crystal Park High School in Benoni, East Rand, five pupils were arrested and charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm; and,
  • Again, in March, a16-year-old was stabbed to death outside Mondeor High School.

These are but some of the reports that send shock waves to government, teachers, civils society and society at large.As parents, we expect schools to provide an environment that is emotionally and physically safe for their children.  We are likely to feel outraged and anxious about any kind of threat to our children’s wellbeing, especially in a place that is responsible for their care.

Most schools are doing a valiant job of trying to meet an overwhelming array of conflicting demands, however schools and government cannot do it alone. Both the perpetrators and the victims of these acts come from families and some community set up.Families are a basic societal unit and therefore education and awareness on these issues should take place at that level.  Protective parents often need to take leadership of their own children in cases where they are being bullied or if they see a child making others miserable at school.

As government, we call upon all the roles players to partake in fighting the scourge of bullying, we all ought to lend a hand in dealing with this heinous behavior, that seeks to rob our children of being educated and in and outside school premises. More so as these incidents of bullying continue to perpetuate even during Child Protection Week. This has to stop one death is one too many.

Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe is the MEC for Social Development in Gauteng x

An awareness campaign for scholar transporters

“It is always dangerous to ferry school children if you are not a registered transporter,” said Bongani Masibi the chairman of Siyabuselela Learner Transport Association. He spoke during the scholar transporters’ awareness campaign held on May 30 at Cosmo Junction.

The campaign encouraged scholar transporters to join transporter associations to work in a good environment to keep school children safe, according to Masibi. He said scholars’ injuries are likely to be more serious if they are in an accident with an overcrowded transporter.

“Most of the unregistered scholar transporters are only after money,” Masibi said. “They have a tendency of overloading, which is not safe for children. They forget the importance of scholars’ lives.”

As an association, Masibi said, they do not condone the overloading of scholars.

 “This usually results to learners being dropped off at school late. However, on this awareness campaign, we encouraged transporters to use proper cars when ferrying learners.”The Department of Transport is now issuing permits for scholar transporters, Masibi added, and individuals who do not operate under a transporter association do not qualify to get permits.

According to the National Land Transport Act Amendment of Section 1 of Act 5 of 2009, “transporter association” means a group of operators formed not for gain, whose object is to promote the interest of its members and whose funds are to be applied in promoting those interests.

It is very important for scholar transporters to be reminded about how they should operate in the community, said Solomon Silomo, the chairperson of Gauteng Northern Cluster Committee.

“This is our first time to have an awareness campaign,” he said, “but we will continue having such campaigns so that we can promote safety. Generally people do not know how to operate as scholar transporters as required by the government.”

Silomo said they want to encourage community members to avoid using unregistered transporters.

People who want to operate as registered transporters can contact Siyabuselela Learner Transport Association on 011 038 1276

Massive crowd at BGYA’s seventh and final Education For All campaign

Hundreds of people turned out at Cosmo City’s Multipurpose Centre on 7 June 2019 when Boys and Girls Youth Africa (BGYA) hosted its seventh and last annual Education For All event.

Filling Multipurpose hall to its maximum capacity, matric students, teachers, pastors and tertiary graduates attended the event alongside community members.

BGYA is a Non-Profit Organisation which aims to educate young people with skills and knowledge.

Speaking during the occasion, BGYA president Emma Matlhola said the organisation had planned to take the educational campaign to other communities.

“Everyone deserves to be educated,” she said. “We had been focusing on empowering Cosmo City through our education for all campaign for the past seven years. We have impacted a lot of young children, and now we want to focus on other communities. The campaign has already been initiated in North West.”

Through the campaign, Matlhola said, they want to encourage the young people to celebrate the youth month in a proper way.

“The youth of 1976 fought for the education that we enjoy now,” she said. “So it is very important to emphasize more on education to the youth when celebrating the youth month (June). Most young people celebrate the youth month in taverns, which is not a good thing. It is for this reason that we brought some intellectuals from North West University to inspire the young ones especially the matriculants.”

Mathola said despite hosting the last event in Cosmo City, her organisation will still work hard to bring change in the community.

“In Cosmo City, we have seen a lot of lives changing under the influence of BGYA,” Mathola said. “Domestic workers have been changed to graduates, and we want to continue bringing positive change in this community. I would like to thank all the community stakeholders who have been so supportive to us.”

Intellectual graduates said the youth should be more encouraged to focus on education.

“They are our future leaders,” said Dr Garutsa. “It is very important to put their educational needs first. I am very happy to be involved in such educational campaign.”

Education for all initiative plays a crucial role in keeping the youth off the streets, said Doctor Maseng of North West University.

IEE Foundation gives sanitary products to Lion Park learners

Ingiphile Emanuel Education (IEE) Foundation VISITED Lion Park Primary school on 7 June and provided much needed sanitary pads to more than one hundred pupils.

Students and teachers attended the event alongside motivational speakers and other stakeholders.

In an interview, IEE Foundation co-founder Lutendo Emanuel Simethi said most of the students are from poor backgrounds and their parents cannot afford to buy pads for their children.

“Teachers were now assisting to buy sanitary towels to their pupils,” Simethi said. “It is very important for a girl child to be supported with proper sanitation. That is why we decided to chip in and assist the school. We help them so that they go to school every time even during their menstruation days.”

Out of their love for education, Lutendo Emanuel Simethi and Penelope Nkosi founded IEE Foundation in early 2019. The foundation caters for the less privileged learners and also works with public schools to promote health though proper sanitation. They also offer motivational speaking and Life coaching to the learners. 

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