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Mandela Day: Brings Hope to Children and Youth

By Ashok Ramsarup :: A clarion call has been made as the international Mandela Day is celebrated this year to “ Take Action, Inspire Change” make every day a Mandela Day. This message was delivered at the Fourth Global Child and Youth Care Network Conference underway at the International Convention Centre in the port city of Durban.

Hundreds of delegates from 28 countries are attending the conference under the auspices of South Africa’s National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), the International Child and Youth Care Network (CYC-Net) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

NACCW’s National Deputy Chairperson and KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Fiona Balgobind said the aim of the conference was to drive home an important message with its members working in the children’s sector advocating daily for the welfare of children and the youth in South Africa.

Balgobind said: “ 35% of the population in South Africa is made up of children and over half of our children, 65%, live below the upper-bound poverty line.   Our organisation, NACCW, certainly has a key role to play. Children across the borders today face a great magnitude of challenges related to the orphanhood, poverty, hunger, housing and education.

“Most concerning is the high crime rate against children in the form of abuse and the lack of child protection. As key role players in the children sector, it becomes even more demanding and challenging on us to step up and meet these challenges,” said Balgobind.

The core function of NACCW, Balgobind said the organisation championed the cause of the  “CHILD”  and it was the heart of its survival following its significant growth over a short span of time.

Balgobind said despite its challenges, it reached great milestones in helping to get Child and Youth Care work recognized as a serious profession, meeting the deepest needs of children at all levels.

She urged the youth delegates to make a difference in their communities and be inspired to continue to work with children and youth to reach new frontiers.

Balgobind said Nelson Mandela International Day in two week’s time, was more than a celebration of South Africa’s icon, but it was up to global organisations to take his life’s work and legacy into a new era and change the world for a better future.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦 

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