A campaign that aligns closely with the heart of LIV is National Child Protection Week, running from the 27 May until 3 June 2018. The focus of this week is to increase awareness about the rights of all children in our nation and highlight the measures we can take to ensure that children are protected and cared for.
The theme for Child Protection Week 2018 is: “Let us protect all children to move South Africa forward.” The future of our country lies within the children that we nurture and raise up today. Child Protection Week reminds us that there is still much to be done. Today there are an estimated 150 million orphaned children in the world. Furthermore, about 300 million children across the globe are living in circumstances of abuse and exploitation.
Bringing it closer to home, in South Africa every third child is subject to sexual or physical violence before turning 18 years old and this often happens in places, like homes and schools, where they should feel safest. In our country alone, we have between 3.7 and 4 million orphaned children with about 3500 abandoned each year. There is a great need for all of us to rise up and respond to the call to protect our precious children.
Here on the village we celebrated Child Protection Week early. Our amazing Social Services team invited guests to join us throughout the week to engage with LIV children and staff about the different ways we can protect all children. The programme for the week was opened during our Monday morning devotions meeting. Hearts were moved by two powerful poems shared by our LIV girls and by a beautiful performance of “Heal the World”. The Director of Child Protection Services, Lydia Gordon, was a special guest and reminded each child that they are important! By the end of the meeting she had everyone up and moving, learning raps and rhymes about child safety that we won’t soon forget.
During the course of the week the children engaged with topics such as their right to say “no”, how they can protect themselves and others against different forms of abuse and what steps should be taken in any situation where they may feel unsafe. They were also reminded that with rights come responsibilities and each person can play a role in making others feel safe and valued. Child Protection week had the full support of the village and many people were spotted wearing green ribbons with pride in solidarity with the campaign. Our dream is that we would become a nation that cares for and protects every child, to the glory of God.