1000 Women Trust to tackle GBV by combating bullying at grass-roots level

Emotion card. Picture: pexels

Emotion card. Picture: pexels

Published Jul 4, 2024


Cape Town - Anti-gender violence (GBV) advocacy organisation the 1000 Women Trust has launched yet another initiative to combat rising incidents of bullying across schools.

The trust launched the Paws and Peace Corners project in partnership with the Badisa’s Little Seeds early childhood development centres (ECDs), and Max and Me.

According to the 1000 Women Trust, its Paws and Peace Corners initiative was designed to teach South African children to deal with emotions and develop healthy ways to manage anger and stress.

The initiative will officially be activated on Mandela Day, July 18, across the country, where children spend most of their time in locations such as ECDs, classrooms, offices, police stations, hospitals, and doctors’ rooms.

Commenting on the initiative, 1000 Women Trust executive director Tina Thiart said that through the initiative, the organisation was aiming to equip children at their foundational phase with the skills to identify their own emotions and deal with them constructively.

She said: “This is especially important because we live in a country where 3.2 million children are bullied annually, while 2 707 children survived attempted murder, assault or grievous bodily harm in the last quarter of 2023.”

1000 Women Trust Brand and social media specialist Adrie Jurgensen shared that the presence of Max, a lovable English bulldog, was a special feature of these Paws and Peace Corners.

Jurgensen said even very young children, who may not yet have the words to express their emotions, can be taught to relay their emotions in a non-confrontational manner.

She said they can use “Emotion Cards”, specially designed cards that feature images of a cartoon dog depicting feelings such as fear, frustration, anger, hurt, joy and love.

“We expect kids to always behave and be in control, but we don’t always know how to handle it when they act out. Research shows that children who bully often become perpetrators of GBV later in life.

“This is a disconcerting reality as 42 500 women were raped in South Africa in the past 365 days, while 15 282 women were the victims of sexual assault in the final quarter of 2023. The Paws and Peace Corners will help children identify their emotions and learn to manage them appropriately.”

“By addressing these issues at their root cause in an age-appropriate and non-scary way, we can help children learn to trust and express themselves, and build healthy relationships both now and in the future,” Jurgensen said,

Badisa marketing and fund-raising head Annemarie Bezuidenhout said that the organisation was proud to collaborate with the 1000 Women Trust on the Paws and Peace Corners project.

“By integrating these trauma corners into our ECD centres and social services offices, we aim to provide early intervention tools that promote emotional intelligence and resilience,” she said.

“The project not only reflects our commitment to nurturing the mental health of our children and empowering them with tools to grow, develop and deal with everyday life. It also underscores our belief that every child deserves a safe space to learn and grow. Together, we are laying the foundation for a future where children are equipped to handle life’s challenges with empathy and strength.”

The 1000 Women Trust invites individuals and organisations to sponsor a Paws and Peace Corner. The trust’s goal is to establish 20 corners, the estimated cost per corner being R1000. This would include a sticker, a dog, and a toolkit with two stories, the Emotion Cards, and colouring pages.

For more information or to donate, please visit www.1000women.co.za or contact the Trust on 061 469 0479.