Since children are the key to the future, the problem of street children poses a severe challenge to South Africa and society. According to Waghid (2004:68), one of the most urgent challenges in child welfare are the circumstances causing children to end up on the streets, which is frightening and getting worse around the globe.
Problems children at risk face (Mthombeni; 2010):
Emotional issues among street children include their constant search for companions, a belief that no one would ever love them, a fear of being alone, a mistrust of other people, lack of self-esteem and self-awareness, anxiety, depression, and hallucinations.
Health issues – exposure to the cold, unsanitary circumstances, and dangerous diseases brought on by living on the streets can cause a variety of health issues. Examples include colds, respiratory and chest issues, dental and skin issues, stomach fever, malaria, food poisoning, cholera, STD’s, starvation, and bite wounds.
Lack of schooling and a decline in skill development.
Exposure to antisocial and exploitative activities
The most significant appeared to be assault, rape, prostitution, illegal trade, the use of cheap labour, street fights, and victimization.
The needs of the children can be met by shelters and programs for street children, but if the situation at home is not addressed, the problem will persist. School dropouts, street children, at-risk youth, and vulnerable youth are all served by the CAP Drop-In Centre. We provide a holistic environment where we help the parents, children, and raise awareness in the neighbourhood.
This is a facility where children at risk can come to for support and care. Our aim is to re-integrate them into school and assist them with their needs e.g., counselling, food, safe extra murals, homework & Social-worker intervention where necessary. In Swellendam we currently have an average of 30-40 children, between the ages of 9 – 16 years old, needing this facility.
Services that CAP Drop-in center renders to the community of Swellendam:
Preventative services to children & families
Support services to children & families
After care services
Life skills for children:
We teach and develop various life skills. E.g. how to grow a vegetable garden from scratch, nurture it and benefit from it.
Educational support services
Guidance & psychological services
Funding or goods needed for expansion of the program:
- 3x 6m-Containers (as the structure of the Drop-In Centre, whereby 2 units will be used to accommodate the children with activities, counselling, educational support and one unit for the kitchen area.)
- Kitchen & catering equipment.
- Sport equipment.
- Agricultural initiative: Seeds, compost, topsoil, hand trowels and forks, rake, hand pruner, spades, gardening forks & hoe, wheelbarrows, netting, dowel sticks & watering Cans.