RAISING AWARENESS ON BULLYING AND CHILD PROTECTION IN MANGAUNG

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  • Community members from Mangaung gathered at Mangaung Primary School to commemorate Child Protection Week 2024, focusing on raising awareness about children’s rights and holistic needs.
  • The gathering highlighted the consequences of bullying, featuring a brave testimony from 13-year-old *Dineo, who shared her regret over her past actions and the impact on her education.
  • Organised by Winkie Direko Child and Youth Care Centre, the gathering also included various services and programmes aimed at supporting children in conflict with the law and promoting positive behaviour among learners.

Community members from Mangaung, Batho Location, and surrounding areas converged at Mangaung Primary School to commemorate the 2024 Child Protection Week (CPW). The gathering aimed to create and lead a people-centred society by raising awareness about how the government provides for children’s holistic needs and protects children’s rights 30 years on.

One major highlight by South African Police Services (SAPS) was how they handled cases of bullying and created awareness of the consequences of bullying other children. A girl from one of the primary schools, *Dineo, bravely faced her peers to share her story. *Dineo, who is 13 years old, used to bully other children, which affected her studies. She is now supposed to be in secondary school with the learners she used to bully, but she was misled by other students from other schools. *Dineo regrets her actions, including taking other learners’ lunch boxes and money, as well as beating them because she had the protection of her friends who also bullied other students.

The gathering was organised by Winkie Direko Child and Youth Care Centre, which provides the Secure Care Programme and services for children in conflict with the law between the ages of 14 and 17. 

The centre offers various services:

  • Custodial care and support for awaiting trial detainees (provision of clothing, toiletries, and bedding)
  • Child and Youth Care Services (life skills, developmental programmes, religious services, and art and cultural activities)
  • Health Care Services (health assessments, health talks, education, in-house nursing care and treatment, and referral to external health facilities)
  • Social Work services (assessments, court support, emotional support, therapeutic services and activities, and referral)
  • Educational Services (English language and communication literacy, computer literacy, and basic numeracy skills)
  • Meal and food nutrition services (serving five meals per child per day)
  • Administration support and auxiliary service
  • In-house security services
  • Housekeeping, laundry, and grounds maintenance services

The social workers from Winkie Direko Child and Youth Care Centre, Puleng Magalane and Thokozile Lebusho, identified the challenges experienced by children from Batho Location. They decided to group Batho Primary, Phahamisang, and Mangaung primary schools to raise awareness for learners who transgress the law and end up at the youth care centre. Free State Care in Action social workers also supported the gathering as stakeholders dealing with cases of children in conflict with the law.

One of the speakers, Dr Buka Koto, addressed the issue of bystanders encouraging fights and highlighted the consequences. She shared her experiences from one of the hospitals in Thabo Mofutsanyana, where she treats many learners involved in fights resulting in stab wounds. Dr Koto also raised awareness about the legal consequences of minors engaging in sexual relations, where boys or girls 15 years or older can be charged for impregnating young girls. She emphasised the importance of protecting their bodies to avoid affecting their development.

The children participated in various activities designed to alert them to behaviours that could lead to incarceration and how to avoid such situations.

 

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