Report of Lesley's Visit to South Africa, April 2005:

In April 2005 I went to South Africa [Johannesburg] to meet with Claudia and other people who are in the frontline of dealing with the huge numbers of abuse perpetrated on small children and infants. I was made SO welcome and had the most amazing trip visiting and seeing for myself both the horrors that can be forced on such innocents and the extraordinary people who work with these children everyday to try to ensure they have a brighter future.

Some services I visited are worth a special mention:

Prof. Graeme Pitcher, paediatric surgeon, Johannesburg, and his colleagues have the unenviable job of patching up these infants and children when they arrive at casualty battered and broken. It is heartbreaking work, made worse because they have limited resources - including specialist nursing backup [compared to us in the UK] - and often no parental support supporting the children through the many operations

Bethany House Trust [part of Child in Crisis] provides loving and intensive care to children from 0 – 16years who have been abused. Many of the children are subsequently diagnosed as HIV+. The guardians try really hard to place each child in a foster or adoptive family within a year of arrival as the consequences of institutional care are invariably negative on an abused child – however wonderful the institution.&

Ekupholeni Clinic and Crisis Centre runs on a shoe string and yet provides extraordinary service to all abused children, and women [and, rarely, men] , especially in trying to break the cycle of abuse. In particular in the Crisis Centre they see between one and three small children a month [last month, this included children of 2 years, 3 years, 5 years] some of who have been shockingly abused. Whilst they try hard to find a place of safety, often there is none to be found and the children have to go to a relative or even return back home, and often to where the original abuse took place

The Teddy Bear clinic is an outpatient facility of the Johannesburg Hospital and the Department of Paediatrics and offers a variety (medical examinations, play therapy, counselling, court preparation) of support services to sexually abused children, their families and the Child Protection System.

The Teddy Bear clinicThe Teddy Bear clinic

 

The Teddy Bear Clinic - the bars are to keep potentially violent people out.......

 

 

The Topsy Foundation cares for abandoned and orphaned infants & children that are suffering from HIV/AIDS - provides a safe haven for vulnerable children who through the pandemic no longer have access to food, shelter, clothing and schooling . There are also several outreach programmes aiming to get better health provision to the local communities, and faster identification of problems – these are mainly staffed by local health workers.

Nursery school

Happy days in the nursery at Topsy where both home and local children attend.

These are the types of services we are aiming to support and assist along with education and training programmes and research into how the current situation can be improved.

 



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Map of South Africa

To date, with the help of DHL, we have sent from the UK to South Africa, over 2,500 soft toys for vulnerable children. The outpouring of love and donations of beautiful soft toys has been quite amazing and we thank every child and parent/guardian who have donated. Each and every toy that we sent will be cherished in their new home. We are now stopping accepting toys because those lovely people at http://theteddytrust.wixsite.com/home do this all the time, again with DHL, and send toys to children all over the world. Any kind people who wish to donate will now be referred to them.

Click here for more information

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 – you can read the summary here

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


Just once in a while, amongst all the amazing work that is done to help children in South Africa, we come across a shining star. One such is Wilhelmina who determined to setup a refuge for abandoned children.
Newsletter The report from our most recent visit to South Africa

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