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May 2021 2nd edition

Mzamo a beacon of hope for survivors of abuse

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

A KwaZulu-Natal-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) has become a crucial link between victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and services that can assist survivors of abuse. 

The Mzamo Child Guidance and Training Initiative helps survivors of abuse to make contact with the Department of Social Development’s (DSD) social workers in 20 communities across 10 towns in KwaZulu-Natal.

The NGO, which cares for children between five and 18 years of age with cerebral palsy, has social workers who help GBV victims in Durban, Pinetown, Umbumbulu, Maphumulo, Dukuza, Mandeni, Ndwedwe, Nkandla, Jozini and Nongoma. 

Director of Mzamo Child Guidance and Training Initiative Lindiwe Chiluvane says its social workers work hand-in-hand with the DSD in educating communities about GBV and getting help for those who come to the NGO. Chiluvane says the NGO also organises counselling for abused children with cerebral palsy. These children are housed at the NGO’s centre in Verulam, north of Durban. 

“We give the children access to healthcare and development programmes that help them to do things on their own. We also work with the Childline Crisis Centre to help children with cerebral palsy who have been abused,” she says.

According to Chiluvane, some child abuse signs include:  

  • a child developing learning barriers
  • becoming withdrawn and not being able to express themselves
  • developing emotional disorders such as wetting their bed at an older age
  • a change in their behaviour- a child who is outspoken suddenly becoming an extremely reserved individual or lashing out and becoming violent. 

“We also run education drives in our communities. We educate parents about the rights of children with disabilities, symptoms of abuse in children and how to get help for an abused child. We also train parents on how to care for children with cerebral palsy,” Chiluvane says.

Recently, the NGO received an electric car from vehicle manufacturer BMW that it uses to transport children to receive medical care for social assistance and other essential services. Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the vehicle, KwaZulu-Natal’s Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said the NGO is doing great work in helping people with disabilities, victims of GBV and children in general.  

For more information about the Mzamo Child Guidance and Training Initiative, call 031 906 1611 or send an email to mzamochn@polka.co.za.