28 January 2014 | Thakhani Tshivhase | Opinion
The Isibindi project is a community improvement programme aimed at creating safe and caring communities for vulnerable children and youth at risk through a developmental child and youth care work response.
In collaboration with the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), Tshikululu has managed this programme on behalf of its client, De Beers, providing services such as home visits, life space work to improve living conditions, enhancing family preservation and other specialised progammes that augment child protection, youth empowerment and the provision of safe parks programmes that provide recreational, developmental and educational programmes in a safe community environment.
The Isibindi approach seeks to address a number of inequalities and imbalances in society. With a footprint across five provinces, this programme has provided services to 10 838 vulnerable children and youth since its inception, by deploying trained community-based child and youth care workers in communities, in an innovative team outreach programme providing developmental support to children and families rendered vulnerable as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The training provided to child and youth care workers facilitates an understanding of the importance of contemporary communities in reversing the impact of challenges in the environment, and children and youth internalising roles of impotence and inferiority.
The training focuses on facilitating, encouraging and developing a strong community base and community involvement, in order to heal the broken circle of young people. It encourages caregivers to recognise the resource potential within communities, including those of religious, social, business and educational institutions, that can equip children and youth to deal responsibly with the emotional, material and ecological hazards that they face as they watch parents.
- Child-headed households are considered a priority in the context of the project. The Isibindi model articulates key tenets of South Africa’s new Children’s Act by actively promoting the following:
Girl Child Programme: girl children and young women heading households of siblings are offered an intensive programme of self-development, and career information and planning. The girls’ increased capacity is supported by women child and youth care workers who undergo gender awareness training, and help the girls to access skills development training and work opportunities in their communities.
Child Protection Programme: vulnerable children from under-resourced rural communities, who become victims of sexual abuse, are provided with opportunities to heal – through therapeutic support involving individual and group counselling, therapeutic life space work, and ongoing individual development plans.