By Precious Mupenzi

  • The Department of Social Development hosted a successful Take a Child to Work Day session as part of the Child Protection Week campaign, aiming to bridge socio-economic gaps and inspire professional aspirations among children.
  • Over fifty children from Pretoria participated, receiving career guidance from higher learning institutions and engaging in discussions on critical social issues, including substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and bullying.
  • The event highlighted the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors, with the Department providing emotional support and hands-on experience to help shape a motivated and informed generation ready to contribute positively to society.

As part of the intensified Child Protection Week campaign launched on 19 May 2024 in Kimberley under the theme “Protecting South African Children, 30 Years On,” the Department of Social Development hosted a successful Take a Child to Work Day session at the HSRC Building in Pretoria.

More than fifty children from various schools in and around Pretoria were invited to participate in this initiative, which aims to bridge socio-economic gaps by providing all children with opportunities to aspire to professional careers. The participants, ranging from Grade 8 to Grade 10, were given a unique glimpse into the working world, regardless of their backgrounds.

The Department of Social Development was joined by several stakeholders, including the University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology, South African Police Service, Gender-Based Violence Command Centre, and PC Training, as the success of this initiative relies heavily on collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The day began with an open session where representatives from higher learning institutions provided career guidance to the children. Additionally, the learners engaged in discussions on several critical issues, including substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, bullying, and corporal punishment. These discussions aimed to raise awareness and offer guidance on these pressing matters.

During this session, some children were overwhelmed with emotions and opened up about their personal experiences. Child neglect emerged as a key issue, with one boy sharing that he is raised by a single mother, while another girl revealed that her mother had neglected her, leading her to live with her paternal aunt.

A social worker from the Department of Social Development, who attended the session, explained that the emotions were triggered by the talks and presentations about the department’s work. Counselling was made available to those who needed support. “Some of the topics we discussed made the learners reflect on their own experiences at home. They have been bottling up these emotions, sometimes without realising the impact such situations have on their lives,” she said.

Following the open session, the children were introduced to different units within the department. This hands-on experience allowed them to understand the role of the national government and the various career opportunities available, especially in light of the advancements brought about by the fourth industrial revolution.

One of the attendees, a 15-year-old grade 9 learner, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity. “I want to thank my school and teachers for providing us with such an amazing opportunity,” she said. “Even though I don’t know what I want to do after matric yet, being part of today’s session opened my mind to understand the mandate of the department, its entities, and the careers that exist within it. I am inspired. One day, I hope to be one of the employees at the Department of Social Development.”

By exposing these young learners to professional environments and discussions about significant social issues, the Department of Social Development is helping to shape a generation that is informed, motivated, and ready to contribute positively to society. As the campaign continues, the Department remains committed to protecting South African children and providing them with the tools and opportunities to succeed.


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