From the Director’s Desk
By Deborah Diedericks (Director)
The other day I saw a man on a bicycle cycling down a busy Klipfontein road, and sitting on his backside perched on the little seat behind the man, clearly concentrating for dear life on keeping his balance was a beagle sized pavement special. Sitting side ways pressing against his owner’s back, he had neither a basket nor any sort of seatbelt or safety feature other than his own sense of balance and his owner’s careful manoeuvring of an old school bicycle.
My heart rate went up just looking at them. One assumes that that little dog is the man’s chief companion, and I was struck by how close to death this pair lives. There is literally nothing between them and the hard unforgiving tar road. I could not help but thinking about my aunt’s pedigreed and tailored little dog with his cushioned car seat in a car with air bags.
This is often the reality also when comparing poor and rich children. Poor parents do not always have the option of providing airbags and car seats, there is often very little between poor children and the hard reality of a rough tar road.
This month Khululeka had the privilege of training social workers on how to train and implement the Abangane Curriculum (freely available at this link). Written as a bereavement support group tailored to disadvantaged teen girls who have lost someone who they loved, this resource provides a soft space, perhaps a cushion against the harshness of a life in which people who were held dear passed away.
I was blown away not only by the skills and commitment of these social workers, but by the size of their hearts, and I am confident that every single one of them has been and will continue to be the air bags and the car seats and the seat belts of poor and vulnerable children and teens, and those who support them.