As our children live in extremely challenging circumstances without access to water and sanitation, they are often exposed to disease. Due to these challenges we ensure that all our children, at the Pre-school, Aftercare programme and Saturday feeding programme have access to facilities which provide them with access to basic hygiene, such being able to wash their hands and faces whenever they arrive at the Centre – or even have a shower if necessary. During the cold winter months this activity is especially enjoyed, as the warm water is an absolute luxury for these children!
We have a few wonderful volunteer health care workers who identify children who are ill and provide them with notes to access help at the local health care clinic. Our community caregivers also ensure they have an adult to accompany them to the clinic if required.
Through our basic health care initiative we have helped a number of children including a young boy with a badly burnt leg, many babies and young children with desperate chest and throat infections, numerous others who need care for childhood diseases including TB and HIV – and we even provide a modest plaster and a hug for simple cuts and bruises!
In the very new future we are hoping to open a facility, which will cater for children who are victims of abuse and sexual violence. Unfortunately this is necessary as South Africa has the highest rate of sexual offending in the world – this even though only 1 in 12 cases are actually reported! The unofficial figure of the number of women and children sexually abused on a daily basis is a staggering 3800, with 60% of these cases involving children. Most victims of sexual offences come from areas of extreme poverty such as the informal settlements surrounding the Howick area. We thus believe that we can help to address this dire situation at Angels Care by providing a facility where children feel that they are not only safe, but where they can access the services of a social worker, trained police officials, medical practitioners and the National Prosecuting Authority.