Isibani Community Centre > Projects > Orphans & Vulnerable Children

Orphans and Vulnerable Children Programme

Why a programme is needed – Overview of the situation:

In KZN we have a high number of rapes, abused and abandoned children and orphans. The welfare department is completely under staffed and for the most part incompetent.


There are no trauma counselors, limited female police officers to handle sexual abuse cases and no functioning system for removing children and placing them in safe environments. There is no counseling available for children to prepare them to make a much needed police statement against the perpetrator and generally no-one looking after the well being of these children either in the short term or the long term.


According to the laws in this country these jobs must be done by a registered social worker.


The number of AIDS orphans is constantly increasing and extended family are under increasing pressure to take children they don’t really want. At best these children are treated as slaves and abuse is not uncommon.


Availability of social workers

There is a country wide lack of social workers and we are finding that the majority of them have gained their qualification through the government bursary system which is producing qualified but unpassionate, disinterested social workers. It is proving difficult to source a social worker that would be able to cover all the roles that we feel is necessary for our programme.


The government employed social worker (there is only one) for our area has a catchment area of over 30,000, covering an area of around 70km and all without a driving licence! She is overworked and under-skilled and largely ineffective.


Our next steps

In order to facilitate the safe removal, placement and counseling of these children we would like to have our own social worker. This person would be able to deal with the courts, the police and the local welfare department in accessing legal documents, processing the legal removal of children from vulnerable or dangerous situations, applying for appropriate welfare grants and preparing children for court when the need arises.


Through our research we have learned that it would be advisable to employ one or two auxiliary social workers (who are not qualified to handle the legal aspects of child removals). This person / persons would do the groundwork necessary to get the children placed, they would collect information and report on the history of the case and / or assist with convictions if required as well as obtaining the immediate and long term counselling needed for the children.


It is often these elements that are the most time consuming and require a person with a real heart for the children


What we are already doing

Although we haven’t found a qualified social worker yet we have still being dealing with cases and doing our best for the children we come across. It is impossible to describe how frustrating it is having to deal with government social workers.