Worldwide and AfriForum have been receiving many inquiries about the plight of children in South Africa lately. It seems as if fake news is being circulated abroad; therefore, we provide this information.
“Farm murder orphans”
Several people living abroad wanted to know how they should go about to adopt farm murder orphans. At this stage, we are not aware of any children left without a parent or guardian due to farm murders. In most cases, minors lost only one parent, and the other can still look after the children. Even if both parents die, there usually is an extended family and friends who take care of the children as in other cases of extinction of families. The financial burden this entails for the surviving parent or guardian can be dramatic. Therefore, AfriForum established, for example, the Wilmien Potgieter Fund, where contributions can be made for the children.
Children in children’s homes
Many South African children live in severe poverty. Some are orphans; in other words, they have no parents or other guardians who can take care of them. Others are legally removed from their parents’ care and placed in temporary or permanent care. Sometimes it means they are placed in a children’s home. Most children’s homes in South Africa provide excellent care. Some of AfriForum’s staff are involved in some of these institutions and know how much effort the staff put in to create a loving, homely environment for the children. Some of the former residents make their mark at university and in different careers, which shows that they had the same opportunities as any other child.
The state is supposed to subsidise these institutions, but payments are often not on time and cause cash flow problems. The amount per child is minimal, as are all social grants in the country. The institutions, therefore, rely to a large extent on public support. Many people donate toys and clothes, but toiletries, school supplies and food are major expenses that must also be considered. People who care about these kids can make a huge difference by making a small monthly donation to a reputable institution of their choice.
Adoption laws have changed a lot in recent years. Currently, they are revised because many offences have already occurred, and orphans are a soft target for human traffickers. It is an international process and not limited to South Africa.
For a foreigner to adopt a South African child can be a very long and expensive process. It can take years and even then, courts may refuse to approve the adoption. The ideal is still that a child is adopted within his/her community.
Help for children in emergency situations
The media regularly launches campaigns on behalf of institutions that help children in need. Often it is children who grow up in squatter camps or other informal residential areas. Donors can play a significant role in helping these children. The most important is to ensure that donations go to credible organisations. Their focus must not only be on providing food or shelter but also on helping kids to escape the spiral of poverty and dependence. For example, children should be helped to get educated, or parents should be involved in supporting the child while empowering themselves with knowledge of positive parenting. In the Solidarity Movement, Helping Hand focuses on such projects – see https://helpendehand.co.za/veldtogte/. There are many other wonderful initiatives geared towards children in need where anyone can become meaningfully involved.
People who want to send toys, clothes or educational aids from abroad to South Africa often contact us. The first problem is the cost of transport – both shipping to South Africa and transportation to the community where it can be used. Secondly, import duty usually applies to these goods, even if it is second-hand. Therefore, a financial donation is often the most effective contribution. This enables the institution that receives it to use it precisely where the need is highest in the community or area where they work.
Some organisations offer volunteers the opportunity to participate in their actions for a while actively. Again, interested parties should thoroughly research possibilities and the credibility of the institution they decide on before tackling the task.
South African children are so needy that a small effort can make the world’s difference in a child’s life. Interested parties must be careful of unethical institutions and being overwhelmed by fake news and emotion. Choices must be based on reliable information. Institutions like Helping Hand can guide on this.
We thank everyone who cares and contributes towards a safe, successful future for children!
Do read the following article about how complicated the adoption process is: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2019-01-17-why-adoption-is-a-problem-in-south-africa/
This post is also available in: Afrikaans