Buddyz Club Helps Make Children Safe

Jenny Button

Organization: Soul City Institute

Soul City Institute’s Soul Buddyz Club intervention creates a platform for South African children aged 8 to 15 years to learn and develop skills to enable them to mobilise around children’s rights, and issues that affect them, their schools and communities.

 Approximately 6 000 Soul Buddyz Club meet once a week in schools around South Africa – in urban, rural and semi-rural areas; and in townships.  Teacher volunteers are trained as facilitators by the Institute to guide club meetings using materials developed and supplied by the Institute.

 In 2012 an activity-based booklet for clubs explored the issue of child abuse providing Buddyz with a framework to understand what constitutes child abuse, how abusers silence and manipulate their victims and what children can do to get out of an abusive situation and support others in doing to. A DVD-based discussion tool, which looked at child sexual abuse using the children’s television drama Soul Buddyz was also supplied to clubs.

 Buddyz from clubs around the country conducted marches and engaged in a range of consciousness raising activities and interventions in their communities. As a direct result of this intervention nine children in one school reported abuse by a principal who was subsequently charged with abuse and suspended.