Article by: Natalie Müller
In observation of International Children’s day and Child Protection Week 2020, the Department of Social Development has launched the Vangasali Initiative. Child protection week runs from 31 May – 07 June 2020.
This initiative has been developed in partnership with the The DSD and the Nelson Mandela foundation to raise awareness around the opening of ECD centres.
The Department started off by ensuring that this year, they would be doing things differently in commemoration of the #InternationalChildrensDay.
This year they hosted a virtual meet-up with Child Ambassadors across the country to speak about issues affecting the lives of children.
In an address to the public during the event Deputy Minister of the Department of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane – Zulu, said the departments intention is to ensure that all ECD centres are registered. “Whether you are taking care of kids in a shack, under a tree or in a building, as long as you are looking after children we encourage you to register.” said Bogopane – Zulu
Bogopane affirmed in her speech that South Africa engages with its children, she reminded us that children have rights and therefore, It’s important to hear and affirm that they have our support and that their future is secure.”
Every child counts and our goal is to ensure that ECD centres are equipped to ensure that our children receive the best care.
“These Norms and Standards refer to a safe environment, proper care of sick children, space and ventilation, and safe drinking water” – COO, of Nelson Mandela Foundation Limpho Monyamane
We as the were exposed to the pleasure of experiencing the voice of the youth, as the launch was graced with the presence of child ambassadors and future leaders, who served as the the voice of children nationwide.
Child Ambassador From the Western Cape, Ayakha addressed the launch attendees and imparted some knowledge on the experiences of children amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Ayakha said “The lockdown has been a rollercoaster, many children’s rights have been violated. To the extent that some children are going to bed hungry. To date we have not received help.”
“ I’m somehow relieved that I will now have contact with my teachers after a few months of no contact at all. My plea is to open up more channels such as these because children’s voices matter too.” Said Child Ambassador, Thato from Gauteng Province.
Representatives from companies such as UNICEF were also present. UNICEF representative Andre Viviers expressed that the world that we want starts in how we invest in our children.
We want to ensure that every child is protected. The intention is to promote the child’s early emotional, cognitive, sensory, spiritual, moral, physical, social and communication development.
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