Cape Town - Two hundred children in Delft are part of a holiday programme against bullying and abuse for the first time in nearly two years due to lockdown restrictions that prohibited them from attending gatherings.
The holiday programme kicked off this week at Masithembele HIV and Aids Enrichment Centre, The Hague, Delft, that is focused on bullying and child abuse and children’s needs while entertaining them with games and activities.
At 8am today, over 100 children already queued outside the doors, ready to be part of the programme, which is run in conjunction with the City of Cape Town and Social Development.
The children, who are fed daily with a meal, are also part of an after school programme where they focus on education and homework activities.
Programme director, Wilhemina Heynes, made headlines a few years ago when she opened up her home to matric pupils and catered for breakfast before their examination.
Heynes said they had a full programme planned for the week, which would include the City of Cape Town, social workers and early childhood development.
“We have been running a holiday programme since 2010 and a feeding programme,” said Heynes.
“Since lockdown restrictions were set, we could not run these programmes, but we carried on with the feeding programme where we would feed the children but could not have a gathering.
“Today, we have the department of social development here who is speaking to the children about bullying.
“We are carrying out games and talent shows, and social workers will also run a parenting programme for adults twice a month.”
Funding, she said, is received from the Department of Social Development and via donations.
Facilitator Luwando Teza said the programme focused on bullying and violence: “We are looking at bullying and how they are affected by violence in their community.”
Social worker, Nokonwaba Mandlanti, said they focused on enriching children’s lives who were often neglected, abused and undernourished.
She said the programme afforded them the opportunity to engage with children to see what their needs were.
“We focus on what the needs are of these children, and the need is very big here in Delft,” she said.
“At 8am this morning, we already had 100 children in the queue, and we cannot send these children home.
“We look at the need, what will instil their dignity and pride. We often find that these children come here without being washed or fed. We make sure these children are fed and that they are washed or a meal to eat. We had a situation this morning where a child was being sexually abused, and we immediately attended to that case.”
Gadija Francis of the Delft Senior Forum said the programme breathed new hope into the lives of the children who were restricted since the lockdown was set.
“For nearly two years, these children could not be part of these programmes,” she said.
“Now, these children can be free and be part of a holiday programme and be educated and fed.”
Due to the sensitivity of the programmes being run, Weekend Argus could not interview any of the children as their rights need to be protected.