JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN COND UCTS WORKSHOP FOR CCWs
By Audrey Tasaranarwo
CCH Outlook Editor
MUSIC superstar Oliver Mtukudzi’s song, “Todii – What Shall We Do?” is a timeless classic that captures the voice of a protagonist who is lamenting the abuse of children at the hands of callous perpetrators like rapists, among others. If anything, its powerful yet touching lyrics must have come resonating loud and clear in the minds of many when the Justice for Children – a non-Governmental organization which deals with children’s rights – recently held a three day workshop for Child Care Workers (CCWs) at Chitungwiza Central Hospital (CCH). The three-day workshop was aimed at sensitizing the participants on children’s rights including monitoring the community to make sure that these rights are not being violated.
CCWs are volunteers who fall under the department of Social Welfare who are the custodians of children’s rights in Zimbabwe under the Child Protection and Adoption Act.
Justice for Children was formed amid the backdrop of the rising levels of poverty which were accompanied by escalating legal fees making it impossible for many children, let alone their guardians or parents, to access affordable justice and legal services. The HIV and AIDS pandemic also compounded the plight of children leading to orphan-hood after some of them lost their parents to the pandemic.
The same scenario also gave rise to child-headed households while children’s rights were also trampled upon when it came to inheritance issues. It was noted that since child abuse in all its ugly forms was on the increase, there was need to come up with an organisation that advocated for a rigorous justice system for children in the country, hence the formation of Justice for Children. With their
efforts, now the long arm of the law can catch up with the perpetrators of such injustices who normally take advantage of children’s vulnerability to harm them either physically, emotionally or socially. (http://www.justiceforchildren.org.zw)
“We encourage you to know your stakeholders such as the school headmasters, community leaders, ZRP and courts. Also, there are children in the community who do not have birth certificates whom we encourage you to assist by facilitating in the acquisition of these important documents,” said one of the facilitators.
She cited failure by some parents to acquire birth records for their children after having been unable to pay maternity bills as one of the major causes of this unfortunate scenario.
“At CCH we no longer charge search fees and also we do not deny issuing a birth record because parents have not yet paid hospital bills. I urge all CCWs to go out and give the correct information to members of the community out there,” said CCH Public Relations Officer Mrs Audrey Tasaranarwo.
Justice for children’s core programme is to give legal advice to children mostly through their parents or guardians or custodians, who are given legal assistance in criminal and civil cases. The organization empowers adults and children on protection laws and procedures through workshops, awareness campaigns and meetings so that they take appropriate action, including seeking legal redress, where children’s rights are violated.
Justice for Children carries out researches on issues affecting children and documents the findings which they then use to lobby and advocate for policy and law reform in Zimbabwe.
The workshop was organized by Justice For Children programs Coordinator Mr Sandra Muengwa.Leave a reply