The need for child protection never takes a break … not even during lockdown. Our social workers are aware that this is a dangerous time for our children.
Even though there has been a decrease in the number of reported domestic and child abuse cases, experience tells us that this is not the true story. During these times, we believe that many abuse cases go unseen and, thus unreported. Our social workers are working hard to set up effective and accessible networks in the community and on social media for people to report any hint of the scourge that is child abuse.
The devastating economic effects of the lockdown are felt most keenly by those who have lost their casual jobs. Loss of income leaves a family destitute, without food and baby care products. Working with our partners and generous donors, our team has been distributing food to our 250 plus foster families. We have now started distributing nappies and baby formula to as many as we possibly can.
As you may know, we have three early childhood development centres (ECD centres). We run two in Mount Pleasant and one in Hawston. These centres have also borne the brunt of the lockdown. Because of the abrupt closure, our 150 children stopped receiving their daily nutritious meal at the centres. The team once again stepped up and, a couple of days after lockdown started, HCFS volunteers and staff organized the distribution of food vouchers for all the children in our ECD centres.
The closure of our ECD centres also means that there is no money coming in since there are no fees being paid. Although partially subsidised, we depend on these fees to pay the salaries of our 17 ECD staff members.
Sadly, while there was no-one present at the crèches during lockdown, our property has been vandalised and equipment stolen.