My placement is with the training department where I have been involved in a new project in the Lavender Hill township formulated to prevent child maltreatment and to address the current child abuse and neglect. To meet the goals and objectives of the project, I created a child participation programme through engaging the children in Lavender Hill in activities through which they have the opportunity to voice what their perceived needs and desires for the project are and to participate in the creation of a project name and logo. The project required a great deal of research on different approaches to child participation. After which I designed sessions which were presented and modified at a number of board meetings. The sessions were successfully implemented towards the end of the programme allowing for the children in two of the townships schools to have a safe space to voice their feelings on child maltreatment and suggestions for what they feel should be done. Along with the child participation sessions, I worked along side the community trainer, attending meetings with local CBO’s, training sessions, and other community events and activities. Rapcan is a great organization with a fantastic and caring staff striving to advocate for the ones who are to often silenced by society, promoting the right for children to be able to be children.
Because RAPCAN takes a multidimensional approach to preventing child abuse, you can be sure to find a project that will interest you. I am working on two projects that have very different focuses. The first involves working with a local community called Hillview in their implementation of a new positive parenting program. The second project involves assessing the effectiveness and appropriateness of HIV prevention information in RAPCAN’s various programs. This is an excellent site for any student who has energy, creativity, and a desire help prevent violence and abuse among future generations in South Africa.
Past projects by Marquette students at RAPCAN range from creating a program on bullying for elementary-school students to working with the Child Witness Program to conducting research regarding physical punishment of students in schools. After only a little while learning about the organization and the issues surrounding children’s rights, it’s easy to find an issue to work on and a project to do. RAPCAN is a great site for a self-directed, enthusiastic student looking to improve the lives of South African children.