Teaching kids how to protect themselves
With more frequent news of child abuse coming to the fore in recent times, Plettenberg Bay-based anti-child abuse organisation the Green Hearts have made it their mission to ensure that children are equipped to protect themselves against those wanting to harm them.
Recently the Green Hearts team, along with local police, visited the Crags Primary School on the outskirts of town where they presented their “I’m the boss of my body” programme to youngsters in Grades 1 to 3. This forms part of the Protective Behaviours initiative which equips children with the tools and resources to prevent these crimes being committed against them.
“The aim is to take this programme to as many schools in the area as possible,” says Green Hearts member Magriet Ferreira. This she believes is a proactive way to try to end child abuse.
The aim of the programme, she says, is also to teach children to know when they are scared, why they are afraid and how to speak up about it. “We also teach them where to go when they feel uneasy and who to reach out to.”
Helen Bezuidenhout, also from the Green Hearts, says they do the programme in partnership with the police. “Often in some of our communities, children see police officers as the bad guys. We teach them that this is not the case and that the police can help them when they are in trouble,” she explains.
The organisation’s Yvette Wilschut says the programme is aimed at young children. “We teach them that they are the boss of their bodies and how to recognise when they are feeling unsafe. You get different kinds of ‘scared’, one being scared in a movie. This is the fun type of scared, but then you also get a feeling when you know something is wrong.”
Wilschut says they teach the children where to go for help when they recognise that something is amiss.
“We also make sure they know that they should not be quiet about this whether it applies to bullying or any other issues they may encounter.”
Recently the Green Hearts team, along with local police, visited the Crags Primary School on the outskirts of town where they presented their “I’m the boss of my body” programme to youngsters in Grades 1 to 3.