My name is Bonisile Sihlope. I was born and raised in KZN, Port Shepstone in a place called Nyandezulu. I have a lovely family and live with my siblings. I am a professional Child and Youth Care worker trained by Isibindi Project under NACCW and the Department of Social Development in 2015.
I love children and have a passion for working with them, especially the children with special needs, because every child has the right to the same opportunities as others, regardless of the difficulties they face.
I live in a small, peaceful community. The community members don’t like to be part of violence, they love to progress in life even though they struggle because of being unemployed, especially the youth. They mostly depend on elderly pension funds and child support grants. There are children and youth who end up losing interest in going to school and dropping out due to different circumstances at home and/or having difficulties coping with peer pressure. The youth spend more time roaming on streets, girls end up falling pregnant at a young age and boys are stuck on substance abuse and drugs. Every kind of resource to develop knowledge and skills for children and youth, is much needed in my community.
I got to know about GCF on the day I was invited by two GCF community workers to attend a training that was held in my community centre in November 2018. I started hearing more about GCF and the importance of taking care of children in each session of the training. The training was about equipping the community and family members with basic needs and necessary skills to develop themselves and their families. The topics were Parenting Skills, Coping with Death and Trauma and Healthy Living.
GCF is the best organisation on the South Coast in protecting neglected and vulnerable children and giving them a temporary place to stay while families are resolving issues back home. I strongly support this organisation because it has provided many job opportunities to the Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW) throughout the South Coast and outside, and I am one of them. I have been employed with GCF for two years and eight months now. This organisation cares about their employees’ feelings and ensures that they are physically and emotionally fit to be in the workplace. They intervene by providing necessary resources like counselling arrangements, where needed.
I also support this organisation because they have a good intention of keeping children safe and protected until they are reunified with their families again. They engage community members and families in a variety of activities to apply knowledge and skills when the time comes. The organisation cares about employee development by giving opportunities to be part of skills and knowledge development trainings, such as Child Protection, First Aid, etc.
GCF has a great impact on children at the centre, children and families in the community and also employees. GCF has equipped the community with the necessary skills to develop themselves through training and awareness campaigns, followed by support groups which assist in developing trust and hope. The organisation intervenes to provide donations, food vouchers or food parcels to the community during different crises and during the COVID-19 lockdown. They are working together with communities and families in taking care of children through foster parenting. GCF has been giving homes to neglected, orphaned and abused children. It plays a huge role in providing health resources and does follow-up on chronic, minor ailments and special needs children, taking them to health facilities to get the necessary help. Children come to this organisation without the knowledge of how things will turn out, not knowing about their health issues and are even scared to talk about matters affecting their lives. GCF and professional CYCW take good care of children in a way that they feel welcome and develop trust in CYCW who spend the most time with them. That opens the platform for children to open up and disclose and CYCWs to do referrals to the relevant people, where needed.
GCF personally means a lot to me, because working in this organisation has provided me with the opportunity to practise my profession in child care work and learn the actual work and being part of children’s lives.
Three keywords that come to mind when I hear GCF are RESCUE, RESTORE AND REINTEGRATE.
Thank you GCF!