Child Protection – Everybody’s Business


On the eve of this year’s Child Protection Week and it’s the time for us to ponder the importance of child protection and how it relates to all of us.  Not just this week, but throughout the year.  Child protection should be at the forefront of our minds.  We need to ask the question how do we keep our children safe and what is our role? Child protection is more than a system of laws and policies put in place to prevent harm coming to children. It is more than the professionals and designated child protection agencies that dutifully investigate and intervene in crisis situations.  It is more than removals, places of safety and court proceedings.  Child protection is about all of us and how we are raising our children.  It is the relationships we build, the connections we forge and the support we give.

Child protection is the community soup kitchen with the lady that asks how they are doing.  It is the holiday clubs and homework assistance programmes. It is the ad hoc community meeting to address a concern in response to a threat identified. Communities include valuable protection resources such as religious leaders, teachers, elders, nurses, and natural helpers who respond to and prevent harms to children. It is the partnership that exists between the community and the professional organization. It is the prayers and words of encouragement given to the staff. It is the monthly donations that sustain our organizations to reach our communities and families.

Child protection is also the many different faces of people who work with children.  It is the teacher who notices a child’s grazed knee, the nurse at the clinic who administers the cure, community worker doing the home visit, and the swimming coach teaching the backstroke.  The professionals and carers intricately involved with our children’s lives, who make them wiser, stronger and help them soar. We need to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate them for the role they play.

Child protection is about my work as a caregiver.  It is the ordinary activities that shield our children from harm. It is teaching them about boundaries and how to avoid hazards.  It is the little guiding conversations and family routines that build connection and belonging. It is the everyday acts of parenting that drives us to want better for our kids. So, this child protection week lets rally around the organizations that support families and children, that promote child safety and provide safe resources for our communities.  Let’s focus on the relationships we have with others that help to keep our children safe.  Let’s talk to a neighbour, send the teacher an encouraging note and sign that petition in support of family preservation.  Let’s look at the big and small ways we are protecting the children in our lives and keep on doing that.  Child protection is community, it is relationship, it is trust, it is support, partnering and engagement.  Through dialogue and education, we can uplift and inspire. Your child can become my child.

This child protection week let’s consider how child protection is everyone’s business.  We are all involved, and we all have a part to play.  What’s yours?

Little People, Big Feelings


It’s been a year of big feelings, for all of us.  Big feelings, scary feelings, overwhelming feelings, and yet we have mostly continued to dig deep, push forward and take action in the midst of this storm of feelings.  This is emotional resilience at its core and one of our skills that has been put to the test the most during this pandemic.  Like never before, we are all having to find ways to identify, name, talk about and cope with our feelings.

(more…)

How To Talk To Your Child About Human Rights Day


Is 21 March just another public holiday or an opportunity to talk about our history?

The 21st March falls on a Sunday this year, which makes Monday the 22nd a public holiday.  Our public holidays, while well utilized for rest, recreation, adventure or that long overdue nap, are actually days of remembrance in our own South African story.

(more…)

NGOs: Collaboration and Partnership is Key


South Africa has over 200 000 registered NGOs, many of whom are doing incredible work to meet the needs and address the multiple challenges that our country faces. However, all these NGOs are fighting for the same piece of the pie to stay financially afloat.  It is mind-boggling that we do not address the need for these NGOs to be working with each other – both formal and informal organisations. If we want to have a chance of addressing the bigger challenges facing our country, then we must work out how to work together more effectively.

(more…)

Navigating Covid, School and Schedules


A new year has begun with hopes and expectations and more Covid restrictions. What a concrete reminder that the Covid-related unpredictability of 2020 continues into 2021. Many of our children celebrate the extended holiday but others are agitated that school and friends are still not accessible. As parents try to navigate childcare, job-seeking or meeting work requirements, with increased economic stress, this can all feel overwhelming!   

(more…)

Passing the Mic for World Adoption Month


November is World Adoption Month.  It’s the month where adoptee voices are centred.  It’s the month where the layers of adoption are peeled back and we have an opportunity to listen, lean in and look at adoption through the lens of adoptees.

(more…)

Celebrating in the Time of a Pandemic


It’s October 2020 and there are two months to go until the end of the year and what a year it has been. October is Arise’s birthday month and we celebrate 12 years as an NGO. Twelve years of seeking justice for children, to see them thriving in their families, advocating fiercely to see children in permanent families who are equipped to see the fullness of their children through adoption; and training tirelessly to see other professionals and organisations equipped to understand the importance of thriving families in order to see stronger communities.

(more…)

To the Strong Women We Serve


At Arise we celebrate women’s month by honouring the strong, courageous and fierce women that we serve in our communities. Through our various programmes we have seen heroic women who carry the burdens of society, and their families, on their shoulders; yet they show their strengths by making sacrifices, by their determination to improve their livelihoods and by advocating for their children. These women often go unseen, unheard and are forgotten because of their circumstances.

(more…)

Openhearted Adoption in South Africa: “Complicated, Beautiful and Messy”


Openness in Adoption is often thought to reference the nature of contact between adoptees and their biological families but it is about more than just this. Openness references the attitude and way in which families engage with all aspects of adoption: how we talk about adoption, to our children as well as outside of our home; how we engage with the fullness of who our children are – their race, roots and traits which may well reflect their biological families such as a particular interest or aptitude – and how we create space to engage with this. 

(more…)