Have you missed that March is Human Rights Month in South Africa? If so, take a deep breath and then dig into what it is all about. You might think that human rights have nothing to do with you, re-think! It has a whole lot to do with you … with all of us

Basic rights and freedoms belong to every single human being in the world. Constantly working with children and families in different ways, GCF is reminded about it. We see first-hand when it does not work as it should. When systems are failing the most vulnerable.

Children’s rights are human rights adapted to children and it especially takes into consideration their age-appropriate needs and vulnerabilities. The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child clearly states that every child has the right to family life, adequate standards of living, education, and health services, as well as rights to play, recreation, to develop to their full potential and be protected from harm and abuse. If we take a quick look around the world to see what is going on at the moment, it is easy to realize that the rights of children are violated, again and again.

In Africa, and also here in South Africa, Children’s Rights are misunderstood by many. It is believed to make children unruly, disrespectful and that it destroys families. This is untrue, but it is not known that it makes children thrive and develop positively, that it prepares them for the future and that with rights comes responsibilities, so also for children.

Every child should, without any discrimination, be able to say:

“I have the right to grow up in a caring and loving family, who protects me.

And, I am responsible to show my family love, respect and care.”

“I have the right to eat food that makes me full and I am responsible for not wasting it.”

“I have the right to good education and I am responsible to learn

 and respect my teachers and peers.”

Just as adults, children have many more rights and responsibilities, but these are just a few that they should know off by heart when they wake up every morning. Unfortunately, the reality for many looks different.

Children arriving at GCF’s Child and Youth Care Centre may not have been protected from harm and abuse in their own families and the communities where they live. A neglected child may have been deprived of health services, food and/or education. When it finally is acknowledged, they are removed from their home environments and are instead deprived of family life. This is complicated and something GCF works hard to conquer. Preventative work in families is needed everywhere, families need to be built up and restored, so children can remain at home and don’t have to grow up in institutions.

You can help GCF in our work towards every child’s right to grow up in a stable, loving and thriving family environment by supporting us financially. On an ongoing basis, we work to reunify children at the centre with their biological families and also recruit and train Temporary Safe Care families and Foster families.

Follow the link for different donation possibilities on our website.

And, don’t forget to always stand up for Children’s Rights!

Written by Anna-Karin Öhrnstedt

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