Report of Lesley's Visit to South Africa, July 2007:

I visited again in mid July with a visit that was timed to fit with the arrival of two new and totally amazing grandchildren, but also with interviewing for our research student, making a film and taking some professional photographs.

We have been very fortunate to gain sponsorship for the film so, having never done this before I set out, with a very professional company to make our first film. Well, it is done, we have it here in the UK and I think it is really great. Anyone who is interested in seeing the finished DVD, I will be posting how to obtain a copy soon.

I visited all our old friends and each time I see how well the projects are developing and how much we are working in partnership. In particular our partnership with the Child Abuse treatment and Training Service is just brilliant. They have now developed 2 courses for us, based on their expertise and the trials and pilots of last year. So this year we are funding two level one and two level two courses for volunteers and community workers to inform and help them when identifying possible abuse. At the end of this report I have put together some figures of how well we are doing – take a look, it makes good reading.

We have two new projects developing with Childline SA; one in Limpopo where we are trying to get together all the local women who run the crèches for small children to help support and develop their work – Limpopo is a province where there are so many children at high risk – the other one in North West province where we are also working to support the women who run these early crèches, often on a complete shoestring and with no support. Yet in both these two provinces alone I have been told that the crèche women can’t afford to let small children go home alone, even 5 minutes away as they may well be raped and killed. I heard a story of the previous week where a 6 year old had collected her 2 year old sister. They were both abducted, raped and killed. They live half a mile from the crèche.

Children

 

These are some of the children we want to try and protect

 

 

I have become more and more aware of the impact of HIV/AIDS on this visit; not just because of the miles and miles of fresh grave, also because of the numbers of children who are left unguarded by adults and left to their own devices. They are just so vulnerable.

So much to do, but we now have many willing and responsive partners and are consolidating well. It is now one year since we began our first real projects. This is our tally of work and results for our year – as I said, pretty impressive I think!

Successes July 06 – July 07 Approximate numbers
Additional ‘at risk’ families supported 283
Volunteer [1] workers in stipend work 31
Volunteers now gone to permanent paid work 3
Workers/volunteers trained [2] 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 haven places for small children 12

……. and if you have contributed to our work, this is where your money has gone. If you haven’t contributed yet – why not? You can do it now through our donate page

We do email updates every 6 months and have newsletter that go out by pigeon post every other 6 months. If you would like to be on the mailing list for either [or both] bits of information then do contact me at:
contact@infant-trust.org.uk

Lesley Rudd
Chief Executive
the infant trust

[1] Volunteers are all working with either vulnerable children/families or already damaged families/children
[2] The training is all about how to identify, deal with and counsel potential abuse



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Our project locations

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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