A Chance to Play
Childhood play activities are recognised as the medium through which relationships are formed, consolidated and worked through, as well as teaching children essential life skills such as teamwork and working towards goals. The area surrounding Thembalethu, our centre situated in the inner city, consists of many high rise buildings with virtually no areas where children can play safely. However, through Jo’burg Child Welfare’s (JCW’s) “A Chance to Play” initiative, children in the area are able to gather for the purposes of play, under the guidance of a full time play co-ordinator.
With JCW’s Advocacy initiatives, we aim to give children a voice. Through our advocacy co-ordinator, the agency is able to maintain active involvement in legislative and policy processes relevant to the work being undertaken by the agency. JCW is a committed participant in the Gauteng Welfare, Social service and Development Forum, as well as on several other local and national social service structures.
JCW takes the issue of Human Trafficking extremely seriously and is therefore extensively involved in advocacy and lobbying activities and networks that deal with the issue of human trafficking. As a member of the Southern African Network on Trafficking and Abuse of Children (SANTAC), JCW has added a strong voice to addressing this massive challenge.
Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Forum
South Africa ranks as a country with one of the highest HIV infection rates internationally, with more than 5.7 million estimated cases of HIV/AIDS. As a consequence, the impact of HIV/AIDS has become a serious threat and a major crisis in our society.
Of particular concern is the impact that the pandemic has had on our children. Not only does the occurrence of HIV/AIDS mean that children lose parents or guardians, many children also face losing their childhood due to the resultant emergence of child headed households. HIV/AIDS is one of numerous factors that contribute to South Africa’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) statistics and a cause of great concern.
Whilst social welfare organisations play a key role in addressing the plight of OVCs, the emergence of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) has made a significant impact in caring for our vulnerable children. As a nation we have a responsibility to ensure that children who find themselves in these traumatic circumstances are given hope, support, education, good health and a better life to become productive citizens of the country.
JCW has for many years worked directly with OVCs, but we wanted to do more. This mindset saw the establishment of the OVC Forum in 2005, with a view to broadening our impact on children most in need.
The purpose of the OVC Forum is to build capacity of CBOs and to enable them to reach a point of running operations more effectively and with good governance, thus serving the children within their own area of operation successfully. The OVC Forum fosters social cohesion, inter-sectoral collaboration, networking and sharing of best practice models. It also serves as a powerful vehicle to positively influence and support CBOs that are doing similar work and helps them to deepen caregiver understanding of OVCs.
JCW’s OVC Forum model comprises a monthly mentoring and training schedule specifically designed to empower and inform on topics such as business, governance, fundraising, play and life skills, dealing with children on ARVs, dealing with behavioural problems, to name but a few. OVC Forum members are able to share information and problem solve with JCW playing an advisory and supportive role.
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