The Department of Social Development's Risiha Programme is providing much-needed support to child-headed households.
The Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu and Mpumalanga MEC for Social Development Lindiwe Ntshalintshali recently launched the community-based child protection programme in Kwa Guqa, in Emalahleni.
Risiha is a Xitsonga word for ‘resilience’.
“The programme aims to protect orphans and vulnerable children, some of whom live in child- and youth-headed households, some have chronic health conditions and some live and work on the streets,” says the department’s spokesperson Lumka Oliphant.
While the programme was launched in Mpumalanga, the department will implement it in all nine provinces. “The aim is to move children from vulnerability to resilience,” says Oliphant.
The Risiha Programme will provide a services that aim to address the needs of vulnerable children. This includes children who are exposed to risk factors that may impact negatively their development, care and protection, and whose access to childcare and protection services is limited.
“The core package of services focuses on seven social development services areas, namely food and nutrition, economic strengthening, educational support, psychosocial support, HIV and AIDS, childcare, protection and health,” says Oliphant.
“The programme seeks to strengthen families and communities as a first line of response in the child protection system, with a particular focus on children living in disadvantaged communities."
The programme will be implemented by youth care workers and social service professionals who will provide advice and support to the families.
For more information about the programme call Yvonne Makhubedu at 066 480 7670, Portia Mthembu at 066 480 8979 or Joyce Ndzuta at 066 480 7245, who will direct community members to a provincial coordinator.