By Natalia Carvalho
Pic by: Giuli Colarossi
Child abuse is a reality and affects millions of lives in South Africa everyday, yet what does it really mean to us? Statistics have shown that almost 2.5 million children are in some way victims to this very real crisis, and this is said to double by the year 2015. So what are we doing about it? What positive changes are we making to society, our communities and the suffering of children all around the world?A common African proverb asserts that it takes a village to raise a child, so are these victims not in some way our children and our responsibility?
This is what Mrs Jay Pillay, Chairperson of Child Welfare Grahamstown, holds true to. Some time ago, students from Rhodes University put forward the idea for the Ikahya Losizo project. Since that moment, Child Welfare has actively pursued the idea and so emerged the safe house project in the Edu-care Centre in Joza.
It aims at providing a safe haven and security for children needing stability and who have struggled with abuse, neglect and abandonment for the most part of their lives. Amongst their staff are psychologists as well as social workers, to provide the best care possible.
The safe house hopes to cater for roughly six children initially, but there are further plans in action for future expansion. Pillay remarked, “We have the structure and provisions to offer a child the safety, care, love and environment that is conducive for the whole assessment and rehabilitation of that child.”
The Ikahya Losizo project aims to be self sustaining and to provide every child with the basic needs which should be rightfully theirs. It is a community-driven programme and strives to make a difference and help those people in need. In many cases these situations might only be temporary, seeing as Child Welfare’s main goal is to reincorporate each child into an ideal family environment.
The safe house is said to be opening between the months of May and June, pending the purchase of furniture. Ultimately it’s our duty as a community to help those who are victims of circumstance.