Christian-based NGO empowers children to speak out against GBV
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Cape Town - Christian-based NGO Mfesane and a group of young children led a march yesterday on Govan Mbeki Road in Khayelitsha to show support for 16 days of Activism against women and children.
The march consisted of the staff members and the children that benefit from the organisation’s after school programmes.
Mfesane’s acting child and youth care co-ordinator Siphesihle Ntuli said the response they received in the session was evident that children experienced GBV in some form and felt that they needed to get involved.
“The march sought to educate our children about GBV and create awareness in the community of Khayelitsha. We aimed to influence a responsible community where people supported each other instead of inflicting pain and hurt on their loved ones,” said Ntuli.
Given that the march consisted of children walking along a busy road, Ntuli added that the march was supported by the traffic department and SAPS, which came in handy in fighting the good fight.
“It is important that children form part of the fight against GBV because they are affected by the phenomenon. They find themselves in dysfunctional homes that need attention and support. Therefore, actively involving children equates to helping them understand GBV and places them in a better position to understand what to do and where to seek help when they experience GBV,” said Ntuli.
Mfesane’s social worker Xoliswa Arosi said that with programmes aimed at empowering children from lower-income communities, it is important to have children participate in the demonstration as children are often the most affected in homes experiencing violence.
“Children should be active in the fight against gender-based violence, especially boys, as GBV is a known problem that is mainly perpetrated by men in the community. It is important that they understand that hate crimes are not acceptable in society,” said Arosi.
With Mfesane running four programmes that aims to empower children from lower-income communities with an after school programme, a study centre, a day programme, and a dignity programme, Arosi said that change is slowly but surely taking place.
"Through the course of the year, we have received good feedback from our clients about these programmes. We can see the impact these have on our clients through observable effects on beneficiaries. Mfesane goes the extra mile to ensure they meet the nutritional needs of the children through our fresh produce from our food garden," said Arosi.