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South Africa: Children in Crisis

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Violence against children remains a critical challenge facing South African society today, despite tremendous efforts to curb this scourge. The legacy of violence and extreme inequality from South Africa’s past is compounded by high poverty and unemployment in the present. This combination places many children in crisis of domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. The scale of violence in South Africa alone is deeply worrying. Perhaps more concerning is how violence has become normalized in everyday life; weaving abuse and neglect into the country’s societal fabric.

As we serve communities with many social ills and at times resulting in weak or non-existing family systems. Many homes are either run by single mothers or grandparents. A growing phenomenon is where children are raised by another family member and most of the time will be either abused to do most of the domestic tasks and in many instances being abuse. This is adding a different disadvantage as research is clear of the effects of what the absent father’s syndrome can cause. High levels of unemployment and extreme poverty are making it more difficult for any child to come out of this slump or to change the trajectory of their lives. 

Violence disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and has taken new forms:

  • With South Africa’s huge HIV burden, millions of children are without parents and are placed at further risk in child-headed households.
  • South Africa is a major destination for refugees fleeing crises, but their children face discrimination and are often denied access to school and healthcare services.
  • Gender-based violence is an emergency in South Africa. While young boys are victims of all forms of violence, there are shocking levels of violence, especially sexual violence including rape, perpetrated against girls and young women.

Projects 

Mentoring program - this is a vocational discipleship ministry for teenagers. Our goal is that our students will reach success in their lives by being God-fearing, independent, confident, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers. They are trained in Bible, technical (Farming God’s Way, sewing class), and life skills. We have 15 students in our mentoring program.

Bible Clubs - this is an evangelism and discipleship ministry for children. We serve kids that are both physically and spiritually needy in the Breede Valley Municipality. We are running 3 Bible Clubs: Zwelehemba in Worcester, Sandhoek and Karsten farms in De Doorns.

Feeding program - many children in Breede Valley Municipality locations go to school without eating breakfast or will go home and not find any supper waiting for them. We seek in a small way to help alleviate this problem. We are running one soup kitchen in Zwelethemba and supporting one in Avian Park both in Worcester.

Scholarship - Many families and children in the Breede Valley Municipality locations cannot afford school uniforms, shoes, books, and other expenses that the government schools may have, which contributed to the huge rate of dropping out. We are striving to support kids to keep attempting at school seeking a better future.

Bible class for mothers - this is an evangelism and discipleship ministry focused on the mothers of the teens that are attempting the mentoring program. We want to reach all families through the Bible.