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Canadian Deputy Minister visits Soweto Safe Park

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
An insightful afternoon by representatives of UNICEF, the NACCW and the Canadian High Commission at the Freedom Park Safe Park.

Soweto, 5 March 2018 - “I feel safe here and nobody can bully me” asserts nine-year old Talent as he addresses Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Global Issues and Development, Diane Jacovella at the Freedom Park Safe Park on the outskirts of Soweto.

Hosted by UNICEF South Africa and the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) at the Safe Park, Ms. Jacovella spent an afternoon with children and child and youth care workers where, along with Canadian High Commissioner Sandra McCardell, she assessed the work being done to better the lives of children in under-resourced communities.

Safe Parks, through the Isibindi programme, provide a critical space where children in these communities can do their homework, play, do sport, take learning classes and just enjoy their right to be a child, in a secure environment under supportive adult supervision. 

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
16 year-old Mirabel renders a poem that calls for an end to violence against women and children.

A roundtable discussion with both the Child and Youth Care Workers as well as with the children themselves afforded Deputy Minister Jacovella the opportunity to engage directly with beneficiaries of the Isibindi initiative. Moving testimonies were given by children who expressed their appreciation for having a safe and comforting environment that provides them with facilities, opportunities and guidance that they would not otherwise be receiving.

Inputs were also made by the UNICEF Deputy Representative to South Africa, Dr Yulia Privalova Krieger, Ms. Mayke Huijbregts, Chief of Child Protection and Social Policy at UNICEF South Africa as well as Ms. Zeni Thumbadoo and Mr Donald Ngonyama, Deputy Directors of the NACCW respectively.

The visit concluded with a tour of the Safe Park which allowed for Deputy Minister Jacovella to gain further insights into the collective efforts of UNICEF, DSD and the NACCW to give all children a healthier and happier start in life.



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