Pretoria – Protecting the nation’s young and most vulnerable will take centre stage come Monday, May 31, as South Africa enters a seven-day show of solidarity with the cause of the country’s children.
Child Protection Week will be officially launched by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini on Monday and the objective this year is no different to previous years: looking after the children.
The week-long campaign is an opportunity to raise the profile of children, and to mobilise community action and response to breaches of child protection. Hopefully the week goes further in awakening awareness that extends beyond seven days.
This year’s campaign, which marks 14 years since the launch of Child Protection Week, will be observed under the theme “Working together to protect children”.
As part of the launch to be held at Abraham Kriel Childcare centre in Johannesburg, Dlamini will brief media on planned activities and government’s ongoing programmes, including alternative care, social assistance and other measures to address child abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The highlight of the launch will be the child participation programme, where a panel comprising Dlamini, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, MEC for Health and Social Development Ntombi Mekgwe and representatives of NGOs and international development agencies such as UNICEF and Save the Children, will hold a dialogue with children on a range of matters affecting them in their communities.
“Families and communities are the first line of response. The aim of the Child Protection Week campaign is to strengthen families and communities to play a role in identifying children that need support earlier and linking them with appropriate services provided by government and community based organisations,” said Dlamini.
Other activities to take place during Child Protection Week and beyond include the launch of the Early Childhood Development campaign, to be held on 1 June 2011 at KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga; launch of children services directory in Durban on 2 June 2011; commemoration of International Day for Families to be celebrated in uMthatha, Eastern Cape on 3 June 2011; as well as the commemoration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, event to take place on 26 June 2011 at Sasolburg in Free State. – BuaNews