Child Protection Week: Protecting children from neglect
OUR GRADE 7 CAMP CULTIVATES A SAFE SPACE WHERE LEARNERS ARE ABLE TO SHARE THEIR PAIN. THIS YEAR WE WERE ABLE TO PROTECT JEZRAIL AND HIS SIBLINGS FROM FURTHER NEGLECT.
Jezrail* came on our Grade 7 Camp with a heavy weight on his shoulders. He lives with his mother, father and 3 younger siblings but his mother is never home as she desperately attempts to find work. While his father is home, he’s not available to Jezrail and his siblings because of his alcohol addiction.
As the oldest child, Jezrail has become the primary caregiver for his siblings. He cooks, cleans, puts them to sleep and still tries to do his homework. He shared with us how burdened he feels by this responsibility, and that he feels especially responsible when there is no food in the fridge or money to provide for their basic needs.
The weekend away was transformational for Jezrail. His tummy was full and his eyes full of optimism as we tried to take the weight off his shoulders and share with him that there is hope.
Our counselling team is investigating and working with his family to find long-term solutions and, in the meantime, have organized take-home food parcels for the family from the school’s Feeding Scheme.
*Name changed to protect his identity