Mayor Launches Phase 2 of Street Children Campaign | Western Cape Government



Mayor Launches Phase 2 of Street Children Campaign

24 June 2005
Executive Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo today urged community representatives to take ownership of the City's Smile-a-Child Campaign for street children.

Addressing representatives of more than 45 organisations from the Helderberg area who are involved in the street children campaign Mayor Mfeketo said Phase 1 of the campaign had achieved its objectives in that systems and infrastructure had been put in place and their was now even greater focus on the plight of children.

"When I set a date of June 30 to get children off the streets I intended to set in place a process which would infuse a sense of urgency to the topic of street children. I am pleased to report today that not only is there better co-ordination between roleplayers in Government, NGO sector and community organizations, but there is even a greater focus on street children, " said Mayor Mfeketo.

"Now is the time to focus our energies on Phase 2 of the campaign which is about ensuring that the gains we made in the first Phase are sustainable, and to build on them as we go forward. Ultimately we must get all our children off the streets, and we work together we will achieve that," said the Mayor.

The Smile-a-Child campaign raises awareness of the plight of street children and combines the efforts and resources of government, communities, non government organizations, communities, business, volunteers and other stakeholders in a joint programme of action.

The roll-out celebrations in Helderberg will link 45 local community organizations link in a network of care to reach out to street children in the Strand, Somerset West, Gordons Bay, Lwandle, Nomzamo and surrounding areas. The launch event is at the Rusthoff Senior Secondary School at the Broadlands turn-off from the N2 between Lwandle and Nomzamo from 09:00 to 12:00.

An initiative of the Mayor, the campaign now moves from one champion to many champions as stakeholders join the programme. Networks of care have already been established across the City areas and will now focus on the roll-out of the Smile-a-Child campaign. Cape Town is the only city in the country with a comprehensive plan to deal with the growing phenomenon of street children.

The Provincial Government has given R2 million in support of Phase 2 of the campaign to keep children off the streets. The programme was developed with the help of the provincial government, non-governmental organisations and many volunteers. This cooperation has produced a strategy that does not focus on quick fix solutions but emphasises the need to put in place a sustainable, long term strategy to deal with a complex challenge.

The Mayor said the City would ensure that all the children in the campaign are provided with safe shelter, adequate nutrition, education and other basic necessities according to their constitutional rights. A political oversight committee has been set up to determine policy directions and resource provision for the campaign.

Key components of the Smile-a-Child campaign include the establishment of Outreach Programmes, Appraisal and Referral Programmes, Bridging/Reunification Programmes and Local Networks of Care. The Outreach Programme involves fieldworkers going out daily onto the streets to engage with street children where they live and sleep. The focus is to work with the child and not for the child. Through this programme, 16 NGOs, employing 20 fieldworkers, have collectively engaged with 449 children during the past three months.


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