CORRIDOR GAZETTE ARTICLE 24 ON EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT MAY 2019

CHILD PROTECTION IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS

The end of May every year is Child Protection Week. It is used to put special focus on how important it is for every single one of us to ‘watch out for our children’. All radio stations, including Nkomazi FM will have programmes that include social workers talking about what we can do to protect our children. But child protection needs to be top of every person’s mind every single day of every single year!

We all know that children are the future of our families, our communities, and indeed of our nation. And yet, far too many of our children experience sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, harsh discipline or grow up in families where they witness shouting and ugly language, drunkenness and even violence. And it happens in families of every race, whether people are rich or poor.

Some people think children are too young to understand, so it won’t affect them. This is not true. Abuse, neglect, violence in families and communities has a devastating effect on children and their future. Research shows that even tiny babies get deeply distressed when adults fight and when ugly things are happening in their environment. For children to develop into happy, confident, well-adjusted adults, able to learn and develop to their potential, they need to grow up in safe, nurturing environments. They need to know that they are loved, cared for and supported in all aspects of their lives. Even harsh discipline such as shouting and physical punishment damages a child’s self-esteem, self-belief and ability to learn and develop into a well-adjusted adult. Yes – children need discipline, but it should be positive and constructive discipline.

So what about those children in our communities that we know are being abused, maltreated or neglected? What do we do? Do we pretend we don’t see? Are we frightened of ‘interfering’? Do we think parents have a right to treat their own children as they like? Are we scared of what the neighbours might say if we do something?

Every single child has a RIGHT to protection from harm. And every single adult has a RESPONSIBIITY to protect children. So take action! If you have no influence over the adults inflicting harm on or to the child and you are worried about the child, do talk to your local social worker or go to the nearest Department of Social Development office. They are trained to intervene and know the correct procedures. You could also talk to someone at your clinic, at the child’s school or in your church or religious community. The worst thing to do is to do ‘nothing’.

Africa has some wonderful values that are reflected in sayings like: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and ‘Every child is my child.’ Let’s bring them to life in the way we protect, nurture and develop all our children!

LOVE, PLAY TALK

Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11 to 11.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana, RCL FOODS and the Do More Foundation. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life.

The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS  sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the following websites:

Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!

PAM PICKEN

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST