August - November 2006
What’s been going on …..
Since the early summer we have made two visits, been able to start eight new projects, kept developing ourselves as an organisation ‘fit for purpose’ and continued to raise funds apace. We are now working throughout the Johannesburg and Soweto conurbations, in two other centres in the Gauteng region, in Mpumalanga Region and just into North West Region – these cover a large range of differing urban and rural townships where the only common factor is the poverty and deprivation.
The very good news first ……..
Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks out .
‘Is it not horrendous to an African, even before Black Consciousness came on the scene, for what ever reason for an adult man to rape a 9 month old baby? What has come over us? …… What has happened to us? …… We should not abuse our children, our womenfolk’.
Desmond Tutu is the first man in high authority in South Africa to speak out on this issue of the abuse of small children. We can only hope it makes a difference and that people will listen.
In August Liz Williams and I visited South Africa visiting our existing friends and possible new partners. We met with 6 existing and 4 possible new partners – details are on our website.
In December 2006 our activity will have reached the point where we:
- Fund monthly stipends for:
» 7 volunteers working in a rural township with orphans and vulnerable children
» 3 volunteers who provide meals for vulnerable children at a rural day centre
» 4 volunteers who work in and Early Development Centre for vulnerable children
» 1 volunteer leader working with orphans and vulnerable children
» 5 volunteers who work in a crisis centre in a very poor area where abused children are taken for treatment
» 10 volunteers working at a centre for abused children and working to educate/inform the local community
» 4 volunteers who supervise the above 10 volunteers, but who also work with damaged children,
» 34 volunteers being either part or totally funded by us
- Fund training in all aspects of child protection, how to recognise abuse and what to do:
» For 10 volunteers training to be community support workers for orphans and vulnerable
children and child-headed families
» One group of 15 community workers in a rural area who already completed their training on all
issues of child abuse in June
» A group of 12 volunteers from various crisis centres completed their training in October
» A group of 15 community workers in an urban/rural area complete their training in
November 52 people all trained in child protection matters all working in either safe
haven/day centres, crèches, nurseries or with ‘families’ in the community
- Provide Ad hoc grants
» Grant awarded to a specialist centre, attached to the hospital in Johannesburg, where small
children go for treatment and court preparation. Grant given to assist the travel of children
and families to the centre.
» 2 grants awarded to two different children’s home to buy essential medical equipment
- Assist a Football team
This is a serendipitous piece of work. Whilst we were at CATTS visiting the trainees in August it emerged that one of the trainees runs a football team for very vulnerable boys. They have no kit. I mentioned this to a friend who trains a boy’s football team here, and another friend who works for DHL and now all the two year old spare kit is gathered and sent to the boys in Khatlehong. As more people hear about this, more kit is gathered. We have sent two huge boxes already, and another one is due to go before Christmas.
These reports are producing some gems – here are just two:
‘I work in the community and was visiting this family regularly. After this course I knew that something was wrong in the family so I went to talk to the social worker. She investigated and now that child has been removed to a place of safety as she was being badly abused. Without this knowledge the child would still be at home.’
A community worker funded by the infant trust to do the training
‘What I really like is that every Friday we have supervision and cases are presented and even when your case is difficult they will help you where they can’.
A volunteer worker funded by the infant trust to have a monthly stipend, to do the training and to have supervision.
- In mid-2007 we will be developing training packs with a specialist training service based on some of the training and evaluation we have already funded
- We are looking to fund more training and more stipends for volunteers working with vulnerable small children
We are planning a second tier of training to build on the basic courses this year. This does several things – it consolidates and deepens knowledge, skills and understanding, and the confidence to tackle really difficult issues of abuse; it will also help the workers towards being employed as auxiliary social workers.
We will be working with Childline SA to support the setting up of a day centre for small children in either Limpopo or North West Region. This is dangerous work in lawless areas; as yet we haven’t been able to progress as there is no certainty of securing the safety of the workers or the children. In February 2007 we are planning a joint fact-finding visit.
- We are seeking more people working in orphans and vulnerable children’s team where we can support their work
- We are looking to see how we can directly support the therapeutic work done with abused children
- We are developing a PhD programme with the Open University; the plan is that we will jointly fund a student from South Africa over three years. The study area will be the abuse of small children but we wait to see what proposals will emerge. It now looks as if this will start in mid-late 2007.
We have polices written and approved at our AGM in July. The policies cover:
- Working with children
- Trustees’ expenses
- Internet research
- Risk assessments
- Funding projects
- Recruiting trustees
- Review of policies
We completed the annual report for April 2005 – March 2006 which is lodged at the Charities Commission, and I have written a review of our first year which is posted on our website.
All our work is underpinned by Service Level Agreements where it is agreed that money will be paid in tranches, and only be paid on receipt of regular reports of activity. All our projects are time limited and we state that all the volunteers we fund must be screened and supervised so aiming for the highest standards of behaviour with already damaged children. This is born out, in part, by 2 of our volunteers already having secured their first permanent posts with their local social services.
This is going to be an ongoing worry and we have so much more work we could do if we had funds, however I won’t promise what we can’t deliver. We are extraordinarily grateful to those who do support our work through personal donations, standing orders, fundraising activities and offers of help. Small charities like ours are always in competition with other large and high profile organisations – Vis Children in Need [it only works in the UK, I’ve checked] – so we just have to keep working harder. It costs relatively little to fund what we do, so 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.
I visit again in late November-early December, and plan to go again in February2007; on this second visit I may be visiting Cape Town and will certainly go to the two neighbouring provinces of Limpopo and North West to source new services and possible projects there.
The next report on our projects and work will be in March 2007.
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 infant trust