Update March to August 2007:

This has been a really good 6 months, lots of training started and completed, many people now trained, volunteers starting work and coming off the programmes into paid work, several ad hoc grants and a new research student for October 2007 . We are consolidating our relationships in South Africa and are really working in productive partnerships. We have agreed our strategic plan for the next 3 – 5 years with modest, but we think do-able, ideas for growth and an ever growing need for funds. The numbers of small children being abducted abandoned and abused is horrific and growing.


In July I visited for two weeks focusing on visiting old and new contacts, assessing, setting up and evaluating projects; but also taking a whole set of professional photographs and putting together a promotional film of our work for fundraising purposes – this film has been separately and fully funded by a very generous donor.

The Board had decided earlier this year that we need professional photographs of children, of our trainees, of our partners and of the places in which we work: raising awareness is a key part of our strategy and professional photographs make much more of a statement than our ‘home’ pics. I commissioned Shayne Robinson a very astute award winning SA based photographer who has done a lot of NGO work and whose work I know well. He followed me around for a couple of days in SA and his pictures are stunning; the pictures will be seen in all our promotional material and reports from now on.

Our film has been put together by some South African guys well used to doing NGO work, they were brilliant; we devised the script before I left and I organised all the interviews and visits. Then all the filming, interviews, narration and editing was done whilst I was in South Africa. We have ended up with 2 versions, a 6+ minute one and a 2½ minute one, each for slightly different audiences; the interviews I organised have bought some amazing endorsements of the essential nature of our work as well as our style of partnership working with, encouraging and developing local services and people.


Work, March - August 2007

1. Training

2. Supporting safe havens

We are currently funding total or top-up stipends of 29 volunteers [there will always be a slight discrepancy in the numbers as people move on and there is a gap in replacements]

We only agree to fund volunteers on a 12 or 18 month basis so this does not come to be seen as paid employment – this means there is a regular turnover of volunteers who come to work, become trained and move on.  It is a major part of our philosophy to train as many people as possible in many aspects of child abuse and then expect our partners to help them into other and [hopefully] paid jobs. In the first year 12 volunteers have been trained and subsequently got paid employment.

Service Level Agreements

All our projects have jointly agreed service level agreements requiring regular reports.  The training programmes have post-training visits and reports built in to establish the long-term impact and how training can be improved.  The expected reports have all come in, on time, giving us activity and accounting for the funds spent.

The few delays in service delivery have been due to either political or personal reasons – for example there was a public sector workers strike for three weeks in June & July.  For all this time the hospitals were not open, nor the schools, and therefore the crèches, children’s centres and crisis centres couldn’t open.  As usual with holiday or strike times the incidents of abuse against small children shot through the roof.

3. Research

We interviewed in both the UK and SA for a student for our joint PhD programme with the Open University. From 109 applicants we finally short listed 3 and have offered the programme to a social worker who is already in the UK; she is South African, from Limpopo, and she has plenty of contacts to do her fieldwork in Limpopo. More on this in later reports.

4. Providing ad-hoc grants

We have given a one-off grant to Childline in Limpopo to help them set up a safe haven for child-headed families: the older children go before and after school to have a meal, do their homework and ‘chill’, the littlies stay until someone older can collect them and deliver them back – crèche staff or a neighbour.  Most crèches here only seem to stay open in the mornings.  We are talking to them about further work

We have given another grant to the Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children for client travel after trauma for counselling and court preparation and therapy.

Feedback from training, volunteers and community workers:

In July I met with many infant trust sponsored people. These are some of their comments:

Organisational Development

A question I am always asked:  How has all this actually helped vulnerable or abused children?

This is a breakdown of all the successes we can track, all taken from the records of our partners:

June 06 – July 07 Approx. numbers
Additional ‘at risk’ families supported 283
Volunteer1 workers in stipended work 31
Volunteers now gone to permanent paid work 3
Workers/volunteers trained at level 1 65
Workers/volunteers trained at level 2 12
Children newly identified as being abused and now in treatment 69
Already identified abused children now able to travel to access therapy and support 22
New safe have places for small children 12

Fund raising

This is an ongoing concern and headache as we have so much more work we could do if we had funds, however I won’t promise what we can’t deliver and we are strengthening our style of work and our relationships in SA very well.  We are extraordinarily grateful to those who do support our work through project funds, single donations, standing orders, fundraising activities and offers of help - everything helps.

Spreading the word about our work is a great help, so please do; and thank you so much for any assistance you can give us. 

If you would like a copy of our film either for yourself or to show to others then please let me know – I am suggesting a minimum donation of £10.00 a copy for either version; this is to help with administration, postage and the funds!

The future

The training of volunteers and community workers will continue apace and we continue to look for new programmes and ways of supporting people working with small children; the training packs will continue to develop and we will find new ways of finding and funding both volunteers and community workers. 

We will continue to find and support local safe havens

We are talking to Childline SA about how we can access, support and help set-up crèches in very, very poor rural areas 100 – 150 miles south west of Johannesburg. The small children are in such danger in these areas that no-one dares to let a small child walk alone through the dust and rubbish strewn paths even 5 minutes out of sight.  Last month, in this area, both a 6 year old child and the 2 year old child she was carrying home, on her back, were raped and left for dead.

Ultimately we need much more money to build on all this work – there are so many children abused and at risk, and SO much we can do to help BREAK THE CYCLE.

The next report in this series on our projects and work will be in March 2008.

Lesley Rudd
Chief Executive
the infant trust

[1] Volunteers are all working with either vulnerable children/families or already damaged families/children

Our project locations

Map of South Africa

We are not sending any more toys to South Africa. If you would like to donate then please contact the lovely people at: http://theteddytrust.wixsite.com/home

We are proud and honoured that our work has been recognised by the UK Prime Minister, and that he has given Lesley his Point of Light award, stating
With the Infant Trust Lesley has empowered thousands of women across South Africa to protect and safeguard children in their communities. The education and training she has provided has helped to improve the lives of over 800,000 children, tackling the violence and abuse that affects too many of them in their early years. As we mark International Women’s Day this week I am delighted to recognise all that Lesley has done.”
You can find the full story at https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/2268-2/
Why are so many small children abused by male perpetrators in South Africa? Our researcher interviewed 27 perpetrators in prison in South Africa; all are in jail after being found guilty of some of the most terrible crimes against some of the most vulnerable children – some as young as a few days old. Those interviewed are all men aged between 16 years and 84 years old, and all have brutalised and raped at least one child. But the findings aren’t maybe what we might expect – it makes interesting reading.  We have been funding research into this for 5 years and it is finally finished and published .

Our flagship Caring for Crèches programme has reached into some of the poorest communities in five of the nine provinces in South Africa and we have crèche leaders everywhere clamouring for the training. We have now trained over 2,200 people and they in turn have already positively impacted on the lives of over 160,000 children … and will continue to help many hundreds more children for years to come