I’ve been paging through a book written by Craig Higson Smith, called “Supporting communities affected by violence”. In the chapter regarding work with children, Craig makes the point that because of the challenges children from disadvantaged poor communities face such as extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition overcrowding and little supervision, providing specialised care for victims of abuse or violence without meeting the other social needs as mentioned above, are usually fraught with failure. The holistic approach whereby physical needs are first met therefore lead to a more lasting impression on the lives of these young children as well a change in the community.
A project that I am now working with, “Project feed the Children” does just that. Although, there is not an intervention strategy to provide specialised care to trauma survivors, they do focus on feeding the heart, mind and body of the young disadvantaged children from informal settlements.
Project Feed the Children, a registered NPO was established in 2008 to assist under-privileged children and mothers without husbands, in rural areas in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal.The project feeds on average, 10 000 children a month.
One such feeding scheme is based in Cloverdene at the informal settlement. Here they provide the children of the informal settlement with one hot meal every day, and are monitored and assisted for shortages of clothing, blankets, spiritual needs and medical attention and also provide stimulation and reading material when needed.
Throughout the year Project feed the children has a daily, one hour, stimulation/reading class, at our campus and kitchen for roughly 80 children (aged between 3 and 11 years old) that are not in a pre- primary/crèche as well as provide food parcels to 5 families, every week, within the settlement.
The organization has set up a book and toy library, a church with Sunday school pastored by Pastor Dumisane ( who stays in the informal settlement) and had also introduced Employment/Empowerment business training to parents of the children that we help feed. As at October 2013, they had trained 35 adults to either gain employment or to become small business operators within their environment.
The next objective of Project Feed the Children is to establish a community Trauma Care service in partnership with the community and Trauma Support SA. A service that will meet the needs of not only the young children fed by this project but their parents and other members of the community affected by trauma.
It is this type of a holistic approach that Craig Higson Smith writes about in his book, that makes a “lasting impact” on the lives of children affected by violence and trauma.
If you would like to find out more about the great work that Project Feed the Children does or even volunteer your time, please go like their page Project Feed the Children Facebook Page or go to their website : PROJECT FEED THE CHILDREN.