Tuesday, April 21, 2009

support us - buy a calendar!

You can support us by buying the Children's Rights Birthday Calendar. Each month features a Children's Right, beautifully illustrated by some of South Africa's top artists.
A great gift that will be yours to enjoy for a long time!
Selling for only R 120 (plus postage R 20)
(Size : 16cm wide X 42cm long)
Contact Alet on 27 11 787 6742 or info@matlaabana.co.za to order.

gauteng - new child-friendly facilities opened

During last month MAB celebrated the opening of two child-friendly facilities at Krugersdorp FCS and Honeydew Police Station, after many months of negotiation, hard work and the kind sponsorship of many companies and individuals. Now child-abuse victims can be interviewed in a child-friendly and safe environment.

Thank you to all our sponsors for making this possible!
HONEYDEW: Ferreira’s Honeydew, Rosebank Union Church, Barney’s Ruimsig, Roodepoort Town Lodge, Mr Price Northgate, Mr Glass, Isabel, Elsbeth KRUGERSDORP: Christian Heritage Church, Clearwater Mall, Plantland, Plascon, Icon Signs, Bergland, GJ & T Flooring, Pallasade, Ruimsig Barney’s, Tuisgebak, Ana Paulas, Book Centre, Margie & Jenny, Alice Art.

monique to the rescue

Monique Strydom, the former Philippines hostage who is now active in the fight against child abuse, has stepped in to help the 16-month-old toddler who was raped in Delft earlier this month.Strydom said the little girl, who needed extensive reconstructive surgery, had made a remarkable recovery.“At one stage there was concern that she might not make it but she is now doing well.” A 25-year-old man arrested for the rape in the Blikkiesdorp informal settlement is in custody and a bail application has been set for April 24.Strydom, together with her husband Callie, was among 21 hostages held by Abu Sayyaf rebels for more than four months in the jungle on an island in the Philippines in 2000.The terrifying but life-changing experience prompted her to get involved in charity and soon after being released she set up Matla a Bana, a project to address child abuse and rape. It operates in Gauteng and the Western Cape, where the couple now live.“It started out with the rape of baby Tshepang in 2001. We looked at areas where no one was working. One of the issues we identified was the problems children experience when reporting a crime.”Strydom said in one case they found that two male constables made a seven-year-old rape victim undress and proceeded to do a “medical examination” on her.“We also found that kids were left sitting in casualty for hours by doctors who didn’t want to examine them. Sometimes they left them until the shift changed so they could avoid doing the examination.”Matla a Bana has now trained a number of doctors in forensic medicine, including how to fill out the correct forms needed in court.They work closely with the police Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units (FCS units) offering training and spiritual support.Strydom said that police officers in these units were often traumatised by the cases they dealt with and needed support.“They are a dedicated group. You need special people who can win the trust of a child and help her disclose what happened to them.”She said that they believed it was important for police to be healthy if they were to be effective.Strydom said they also worked closely with other NGOs involved in fighting child abuse.“One NGO operating in Kayamandi has found mothers grooming 10-year-olds to do massages when the ‘ooms’ come for the 2010 World Cup. They’re trying to work with the children because in cases like that the parents are the perpetrators.”In the Delft case, the commander of the FCS unit asked Strydom to help the family because the child needed clothes.“We ran a pledge line on Radio Tygerberg and received donations for clothes, toys and food for the family. We also had thousands of calls from people who were furious about what had happened.”The child is now living with her grandparents in Elsies River.Strydom is unsure why so many child rapes happen in Delft but says there is a lot of substance abuse in the poverty stricken area.Delft police spokesman Captain Joe Wilson agrees, saying there is a lot of unemployment and a lot of drugs in the suburb.“Delft was designed for the poorest of the poor. It’s not a stable community. Blikkiesdorp is not even a year old and there are a lot of people from different backgrounds living together who don’t know each other.”

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