Posts Tagged ‘Department of Health’

“May 15 is celebrated as the International Day of the Family. This day highlights the importance of families. It aims at fostering equality, bringing about a fuller sharing of domestic responsibilities and employment opportunities. The programmes undertaken to commemorate the day, work towards supporting families in the discharge of their functions. They tend to promote the inherent strengths of families, including their great capacity of self-reliance, and stimulate self-sustaining activities.

Family constitutes the basic unit of society. Hence, the widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to families so that they fully assume their responsibilities within the community to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on Social Progress and Developments and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women”

However, within the context of many marginalised communities such as Rooigrond, ‘family’ goes beyond its’ usual mother, father and children definition. Due to the large number of single-parent families; child-headed families; migration to seek access to opportunity; family refers more to the community as a whole; as the community looks out for each others well-being. So, in celebrating the International Day of the Family, we decided to celebrate it with the community as a whole and with activities that empower each member of it.

The day was celebrated on Saturday, the 21st May 2011, to ensure that the majority of the community could participate in what turned out to be a great day of fun and empowerment for all in Rooigrond. The Department of Home Affairs, SASSA and SAPS once more assisted us greatly in ensuring that members of our community could apply for IDs, birth certificates and social grants, all things which are greatly difficult to access for those in marginalised communities. The Department of Health, on the other hand, provided HCT services, giving those in the community- which has neither a clinic nor hospital, an opportunity to know their status. Apart from this, health talks were conducted between different little groups amongst the crowd. These health talks were done in Setswana to ensure that community members could understand and focused on matters which are problem areas within the Rooigrond context. FAMSA and the Department of Social Development, along with the Department of Correctional Services were also a part of the day’s activities each discussing the services they offer, as well as having presentations on matters which tear families or in our instance, communities apart. Topics included domestic violence, substance abuse and the consequences of crime, amongst many more. To ensure the day appealed to all, both young and old alike, great performances came from our very own cultural dancers too- with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture offering fun, games and exercise to all present.

What a day it was and it only served to bring together the community in a beautiful way, as men, women, old and young came out to celebrate this very important day with each other…

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Operation: ROOIGROND does more than facilitate positive change in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement, we are also advocates of social justice for this often forgotten community. We seek not only to break the cycle of poverty in the community, but also to break the cycle of social exclusion- which plays a huge part in the many injustices suffered by the community members.

As such, we were quick to accept a request from the Commission for Gender Equality to form a partnership for the hosting of a public hearing on women, poverty and energy, in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement area. After the successful hosting of our ‘Human Rights Day’ event, the Commission found us to be in an ideal position to successfully co-ordinate a public hearing on their behalf.

Our acceptance of this request, was based entirely on the knowledge that, the community itself is fully aware of the challenges it faces, with regards to women, poverty and energy and as such, they themselves also have ideas on how these challenges can be overcome. Unfortunately, due to the social exclusion suffered by the community, never have they ever had a chance to share their views and actively participate in the overcoming of these challenges.

On the 29th March 2011, over 100 community members were mobilised, to participate in what would be a historic occasion in the settlement. The community members were joined by, members of the Commission for Gender Equality; the North-West University and the Department of Health, amongst others. Vibrant and necessary discourse about the various challenges faced by women due to poverty and a lack of energy followed. The community identified their problems and also proposed solutions to these problems, citing the various means that could be used to assist them solve these problems.

The Public Hearing, which was ended with a late lunch courtesy of the Commission for Gender Equality, was a huge success- not only because an environment encouraging participation was created, but also the psychological benefits of having a socially excluded community having their voices heard.