Projects Abroad Human Rights Office – Cape Town, South Africa – Monthly Reports
Projects Abroad Human Rights Office - Cape town - Monthly reports - April 2011
Bonnytoun – This month volunteers have been getting to know the boys and learning what works with them and what they respond to. The first few workshops resulted in a fair amount of trial and error, sourcing out the boys' strengths and weaknesses. There are some of the boys who are unable to speak English and so it was arranged for a translator to sit in on the workshops to translate English to Afrikaans. It was also found that some of them are unable to read or write and so this was something that needed to be encompassed into future workshops. Some of the boys suffer with lack of concentration due to psychological problems and dealing with this was also a learning curve for our volunteers. The boys however seem to react well to music and so this has become a focal point with workshops this month focusing on both the positive and negative messages that are portrayed through hip hop. There is a plan in the coming months to incorporate drama and dance into the workshops with the result of organising a show for relatives of the boys. This will give the boys something positive to focus on and work towards and allow them to show off their talents.
The Women's Shelters: Sisters Incorporated and St' Anne's – The women we work with in these shelters have very little self esteem and do not believe they deserve such things we would perhaps take for granted, such as an education. This month it has been important for volunteers to change this perception and empower these women. This will not happen in a day but this month volunteers focused on informing them of the courses available to them and the ways that education can improve their lives and that of their children's lives. Volunteers noticed a slight shift in the attitude of these women and aim to continue to empower them to want more for themselves. There has also been a focus on music this month, showing them different types of music from different countries and the power and effect it has on people.
Khayelitsha (Sex Education Workshops) – This project is currently on hold and being rethought out. It was decided that after the couple of trial sessions that took place and after consulting with the school, changes needed to be made and re strategising of the workshops was needed. We are hoping to get the project back up and running in May as sex education is so important and with such a high rate of HIV/AIDS here in South Africa, it is crucial that children be informed about safe sex.
Khayelitsha – Siya Khathala – Volunteers have spent a lot of time working in Khayelitsha this month in partnership with Siya Khathala, an organisation which assists vulnerable families and child-headed households within Khayelitsha. This month volunteers decided to spend a day making home visits with the organisation to those homes where there was thought to be a vulnerable child and follow up on case files. However the process didn't seem to be very successful, with disorganisation and a lot of time being wasted. By shadowing the volunteers from Siya Khathala for the day, it enabled PAHRO volunteers to see where there were problems and allow them to see where we, as an organisation, can complement the work that they already do. Volunteers helped to create a new data capturing set to organise the files of all of the cases which are opened at Siya Khathala. It was decided that the best way we can efficiently assist Siya Khathala is to read through the case files they have opened and with the expertise we have here in the office, decide upon the appropriate referrals for each individual case. This will offload some of the burden on the organisation and free up some of their time. The community desperately needs access to and knowledge of, the social services in their area and we are hopeful that by assisting in this way it will encourage Siya Khathala to grow to become the gateway to such information and assistance.
Lavender Hill – Trips to Lavender Hill this month have resulted in the opening of more case files as word spreads of the assistance we offer. This is such an important lifeline for the women of this community and also gives our volunteers the chance to get involved in some family law cases including maintenance issues, divorce and child custody.
Manenberg Boys – The boys were taken on a trip to Parliament and the National Archives this month. They were given an official tour of Parliament and were able to ask questions and learn about the way things operate within the South African Parliament. There is a plan to arrange for future visits to the National Archives with the Manenberg boys at a later date to do some research with them there.
Manenberg Girls – This project focuses on school leavers and the group ranges between 18-25 year olds. This is a new project and so to begin with PAHRO volunteers took the group on a day trip; similar to that of the boys however they visited the District Six museum and the National Gallery. This gave the girls the opportunity to get away from their usual routine and learn something about the history of their country. It also gave volunteers the chance to get to know the girls, gain their trust and find out what issues are prevalent in their lives. This has given volunteers ideas of how to structure future workshops so that they will be beneficial to the group