These are some of our current projects:

  • Helping children who have been abused (this page)
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Helping children who have been abused

Teddies

We continue to work with our partners in Khatlehong who do some astonishing work with abused small children and children [boys] of 8 – 12 years who are already abusers of small girls.

In particular we support the groups for abused young [pre-school] girls and their mothers – the results are stunning and without this help the girls would be permanently scarred and be at great risk for the rest of their lives.

This is just a small reminder of why their work is so desperately needed:

“A four year old girl has been killed in Kathlehong [NB, just to the South-east of Johannesburg]. It is tragic. Unspeakable. But for Ekupholeni Mental Health and Trauma Centre, it is nothing new. And therein lies the real tragedy.

Ekupholeni is a counselling centre operating out of zozos and containers on the grounds of the Natalspruit Hospital in Kathlehong. It is in charge of psycho-social counselling at the next door Sinakekelwe Thuthuzela Crisis Centre which sees dozens of victims of child abuse, sexual abuse and rape on a daily basis.

Counsellors at Ekupholeni see about 1000 new cases of sexual assault and rape each year. About two thirds of these cases are children. Hundreds of these children are extremely young; either in pre-school or primary school. Our therapy group for pre-school children who been victims of sexual abuse and/or rape has twenty children—and is bigger than it ever has been throughout the organization’s nearly twenty years history.

The scourge of rape is becoming a crisis in our communities of Kathlehong, Thokoza, Vosloorus and the surrounding areas. Whereas before we dealt with the psychological repercussions of rape, now we are also dealing with incredible associated violence.

What we are doing at Ekupholeni is no small task. Our aim is to help these children and their caregivers put their lives back together. This means that a once-off therapy session and a teddy bear, is simply not enough.

Our staff is made up of highly professional and qualified personnel, including clinical psychologists and social workers. Some of our social auxiliary workers and lay counsellors offering support throughout the therapeutic process have twenty years’ experience in this field".




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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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