South Africa’s Constitution states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. It is mandatory for all South Africans to play their role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them. But recent statistics state that one in three children in the country fall victim to physical, sexual or emotional abuse before their 18th birthday. It is for this reason that the National Child Protection Week is held in South Africa annually, to raise awareness on the rights of children, and to ensure the safety, well-being, care and protection of children, through the theme “Let Us All Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward”.
Star for Life (SFL) contributed in this year’s Child Protection Week by inviting 14 primary schools, different Government departments and local stakeholders, to stand together against the abuse of children.
The event started with a colorful parade around the town, consisting of placards, loud hailers, green ribbons and banners, condemning the abuse of children. The programme comprised of poetry and drama from the learners, portraying their fears, and calling on everybody to play their part to protect them. Stakeholders present on the day were: SAPS, Eskom, DOE, DSD, DOT, Big 5 Traffic Department, Maputaland Radio, DSTM and Scelo, a reptile specialist, who all focused on the safety of children. Before the event concluded, stakeholders took a pledge to protect children, by planting their handprints on the SFL declaration cloth.
“South Africa is marked by high levels of violence and exploitation of children in places where they should be safe. Children should live in a safe environment, where they are loved and protected”, Said SFL Wellness Manager, Miss Noluthando Nondabula, during her speech.