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Appeal to increase child safety and care this school holiday period

South Africa - Johannesburg - 30 December 2020 - Kids play in Waterwex Settlement Soweto during the school holidays, most of the kids are seen without masks as they play during lockdown level 3.Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha /African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa - Johannesburg - 30 December 2020 - Kids play in Waterwex Settlement Soweto during the school holidays, most of the kids are seen without masks as they play during lockdown level 3.Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha /African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jun 24, 2022

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Cape Town - On the cusp of the holiday season for school goers, children's safety and care has been highlighted.

Action Society spokesperson Kaylynn Palm said with the ongoing violence, including gang violence in parts of Cape Town, safety of children during this time is of deep concern.

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“The reality is that most parents simply cannot be at home due to work commitments, and do not have access to nannies and au pairs to look after their children. So often, they have no choice but to leave their kids in unsafe situations. It leads to neglect, abuse and sexual abuse.”

Another concern is hunger as millions of children across the country depend on schools for their only daily meal for the day.

“Action Society spoke to social workers during the pandemic who indicated that hunger among kids increased during school holidays,” Palm said.

Philisa Abafazi Bethu Family Centre director Lucinda Evans will be holding a two-week holiday programme called ‘Come and Play’ for children not registered with the organisation, at its headquarters on 57 Strauss Road, Steenberg. Evans has invited the community’s children to participate in the programme.

Evans said her gravest concern was over the supervision of children while parents and caregivers are at work.

“But I am worried in general also about child safety and the unsafe behaviour that some parents do have and putting children at risk. We find that we now have women sleeping with children under bridges, we now have women roaming around with children in the middle of the night. So I am truly worried,” Evans said.

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A warm meal will be served and children kept entertained. With wet weather expected to persist, Evans appealed for donations of board games, skipping ropes and balls. The programme is expected to commence on Monday, 27 June.

Contact 021 565 0668 for more information, or if you should wish to assist.

Provincial Social Development Department spokesperson Esther Lewis said parents should ensure that children are supervised at all times, particularly small children, as accidents can happen very quickly.

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“When choosing someone to care for your children, make sure that they are trustworthy, responsible, and that they are contactable at all times,” Lewis said.

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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