SAFE PARK IS A HAVEN FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND WIDER LOERIESFONTEIN COMMUNITY
The Isibindi Safe Park opened its doors to the community of Loeriesfontein, late 2018 and has already carved a place in the hearts of the wider community where it plays a crucial role. This month the spotlight is turned to throw light on National Child Protection Week.
The Safe Park was built to provide a safe and caring environment for children and youth who are especially at risk and vulnerable, within the community of Loeriesfontein. It provides access to the services of family-focused professional Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs), offering continuous support to children and families.
June is a particularly significant period, with additional interventions taking place, both in the lead up and during National Child Protection Week, which will be commemorated between 28 May and 4 June, themed “Let Us All Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward”.
Despite South African laws that govern the treatment and protection of children, high levels of poverty, violence and inequality means that children are susceptible to exploitation, abuse and neglect.
“This is why children need special protection, because they are among the most vulnerable members of society and through Isibindi, children and their families are supported by the CYCWs who provide specialised child and youth care services, not just at the Safe Park, but also in schools and at home too,” said Marita, Isibindi Project Manager.
Various stakeholders work together with Isibindi’s core team to increase awareness and impact around National Child Protection Week, including SANCA and the SAPS, who recently presented a discussion on crime and domestic violence, in addition to a number of child and youth focused activities.
The Safe Park infrastructure houses an office, homework area and a kitchen, which serves lunch for the children. Outdoor activities are conducted in the secure enclosed park and co-ordinated by the trained Child and Youth Care Workers who also provide care, support, and facilitate school homework.
The centre takes care up to two hundred children a day and served an estimated 4 500 meals over the December and March school holiday period alone.
Whilst Isibindi is aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 18, the programme also reaches out to provide support to the whole family, when needed, through home visits. Furthermore, by working in close collaboration with the South African National Council on Alcoholism (SANCA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) the Safe Park is able to offer ongoing interventions and programmes that cover topics such as crime, domestic violence and substance abuse.
“The Safe Park is fundamental to the community, with children and caregivers turning to the resident Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs) at the Safe Park when in need of assistance,” concluded Vanessa Fredericks, Economic Development Manager for Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm, providers of the funding for the Safe Park’s construction, training CYCWs and continued support of this fundamental ongoing social intervention programme.