Child protection

Circles of Care

Isibindi and Safe Parks

Ending violence against children




Isibindi and Safe Parks

UNICEF South Africa/Schermbrucker
© UNICEF South Africa/Schermbrucker

Giving children hope for the future

Across South Africa, too many children are growing up in disadvantaged circumstances characterized by poverty, violence and abuse. While social assistance grants help to cover basic material needs, their need for care and protection is often unmet. The lack quality caregiving and safe spaces is hindering these children from fulfilling their potential.

Initiated in response to the HIV epidemic, which left many children orphaned or vulnerable, Isibindi is a community-based programme that strengthens families and helps to protect children from abuse, neglect and violence. Endorsed by the Government, Isibindi focuses on the psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents by supporting positive care-giving in the most disadvantaged families and assisting families to access key services. Combined with Safe Parks, which are spaces for recreation and learning created especially for at-risk children, Isibindi is driving positive change in many disadvantaged communities and offering hope and opportunity for children across the country.

Home visits and safe spaces

“I have gained so many skills and so much more, I would be nothing without Isibindi” - Siphokazi Adams, 17, East London, Eastern CapeLed by the Department of Social Development (DSD), and coordinated by the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), child and youth care workers are drawn from unemployed members of the community and receive accredited training to deliver home visits to vulnerable children and their families. They provide supervision, life-space counseling, and psychosocial support in the lives of children and refer to other services such as social grants, health care, education and child protection, as needed. The child and youth care workers also work in Safe Parks, where children come after school and on weekends for a meal, to play, read, garden, sing and dance, do homework or simply receive love, care and support. Safe Parks offer educational and counselling support, nutrition and life skills, and deliver empowerment programmes for victims of violence and/or substance abuse. Isibindi has integrated the Sinovuyo teen parenting programme, specifically designed and proven to reduce maltreatment and violence among adolescents, and the MenCare programme to engage fathers and other male family members to support children. Through these efforts, as well as more teen-focused activities in Safe Parks, adolescent participation and outcomes have been strengthened.

Government, development partners and civil society

With oversight of the Department for Social Development (DSD) and NACCW, and technical and financial support from partners such as UNICEF and USAID, Isibindi projects are implemented by some 400 local organisations and communities, in the social service equivalent of a franchise. They are collaborative initiatives that combine the strengths of each partner to foster community cohesion in the poorest areas of the country.





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