National Child Protection Week is commemorated in the country annually to raise awareness of the rights of children from 30 May to 6 June. In honour of the week, Sparrow Trust, in partnership with Singh Tours and Amanzimtoti CPF, distributed pamphlets with safety tips and local helpline numbers to learners using public transport to get to school.
“We strongly believe that getting our children back into controlled school environments where they are nurtured and loved is a method of safeguarding them from exposure to harm. It is also an opportunity to equip them with skills to practice body safety rules that may prevent them from becoming victims of exploitation and abuse because of increased vulnerability due to lockdown,” said the organisation’s Estelle van Eeden.
Due to this, the organisation started the community-funded school transport subsidy once schools resumed in 2020.
“We realised that many of our most vulnerable children had not returned to school because of financial instability. Recipients of our school transport subsidy go through an application process to ensure that aid is going where it is needed most. The child receives one bus or train ticket per month at a cost of R170 and equals five days back at school in their safe zone.”
Nadia van Wyk is a licensed counsellor and follows up with each child, checking their attendance, liaising with teachers, and provides emotional support the child may need.
“We want our children to know who they can call in case they need help or advice.”
ALSO READ: Child Protection Week: A call to end violence against children
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