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Children are the future of our society and those less fortunate deserve the same opportunities as others. This is the same philosophy on which the non-profit organization Salaam Baalak Trust works. Counted as one of the most prestigious NGOs in India, the Salaam Baalak Trust is working towards restoring the dignity of children born on the streets and improving their lives by providing food, security, health and education.

Salaam Baalak Trust was established twenty-eight years ago in December, 1988 with donations from the movie Salaam Bombay. The trust now protects children from the ruthless underbelly of Delhi and provides them vocational training to help them live a meaningful life.  Without any division on the basis of caste, religion or gender, these are the areas in which the trust is making giant strides to alleviate children from poverty in the streets.

Children Homes

A life on the streets can have a major emotional impact on a child and therefore the Salaam Baalak Trust ensures rehabilitation and restoration of children as soon as they separate from their families. This is done through their Contact Point and Community Contact Point programs. This, however, is not possible in all the cases and therefore the children are encouraged to join a full-care residential centre after registering through the Child Welfare Committee.

The complete lifecycle of the Children Homes programme is as follows:

  • Salaam Baalak Trust appoints contact points throughout the city, especially at railway stations and crowded places in order to identify children who have just arrived in the city and might be vulnerable to bad elements in the society;
  • The second step in the programme is to counsel and help the street children reunite with their families;
  • In case it’s not feasible to trace back their families, the trust goes ahead and introduces the children to older children to help develop a sense of common identity and empathy between them. This helps in making sure that the children frequently visit the contact points;
  • Other facilities such as nutrition, clothing, education (formal or open schools) and medical support is provided to the children;
  • Introduction to drug addiction programmes is done in case the child is hooked on to bad substances;
  • Recreational facilities are provided such as sports (indoors and outdoors), music, art and craft;
  • Child rights awareness programmes are run and efforts are made to help the children reunite with their families;

Apart from 19 contact points and 6 full care residential centers, the Salaam Baalak Trust also runs Akanksha, a children outreach programme in slums.

Health Protection

Basic health facilities are a necessity that every human being deserves. The children, prone to severe infections and diseases, need basic healthcare in order to grow. The trust, therefore, provides individual health cards for the children. Medical check-ups are also done at regular intervals. To compliment basic healthcare, hot-cooked meals are provided at residential centers and contact points. Hepatitis-B and tetanus vaccinations are done at regular intervals for children in need.

A special emphasis is also given to Mental Health, especially because the children living in the streets go through a lot of stress and anxiety.  Under this programme, started in 2003, children can approach their counselor without the fear of being judged and can vent out their anger and insecurities within a safe space.

Education and Social Inclusion

With a special focus on need based solutions, the Salaam Baalak Trust places education as a high priority area for the underprivileged children. Many schemes of education, both formal and informal are employed by the trust to help the children become informed and responsible citizens of our society. Here are some of the programmes offered by the trust:

  • National Institute of Open Schooling
  • Formal Education
  • Non-Formal Education
  • Bridge Education/Course

Recreation

The Salaam Baalak Trust believes in curing the malice in the life of street children with the help of performing arts. It is not only a medium to express themselves but also an opportunity to prove that they are good at something in life. Numerous case studies have proven that not only do the creative arts help instill a sense of purpose for many of these children but also helps them in making friends and carving a path for, and of their own.

The recreation activities therefore include street plays, annual dance, pottery and theatre. With such avenues and opportunities for street children, the Salaam Baalak Trust continues to do pioneering work in this area.

To donate and express your support for the wonderful work being done by the Salaam Baalak Trust, Visit here. http://www.salaambaalaktrust.com

The recent protests which have rocked the Southern parts of Johannesburg, more specifically the Coloured townships of Eldorado Park and Ennerdale, should not be looked at in isolation. The organisation and mobilisation of this largely unemployed, marginalised, and erased people have been a recurring trend across Johannesburg, from Reiger Park to Westbury. They pertain primarily to two matters, a “housing” crisis and the issue of criminality.

“Housing” was central to at least three protests in three months. It is an issue which goes largely overlooked by Coloured people themselves. Perhaps more concerning than this is the disregard by those who perceive the struggles of this group of people as a matter of lesser urgency.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that Coloured people create informal settlements in their backyards rather than establish informal settlements like their Black counterparts; giving the impression of a slightly better environment, as capital seems to circulate between landlord and tenant. But nobody questions the amount that is actually transacted (if at all) between these two parties, let alone the social implications of four families sharing a Verwoerdian “plot” of land.

One would be wilfully ignorant to believe that such a small space for movement could possibly facilitate a healthy childhood development. Imagine a child growing up next to a tavern (a large part of township economy, particularly where the genetic footprint of the Dop System exists) surrounded by unemployment and desperation on both ends of the gender spectrum. This child is fatherless and without any alternative representation of self to aspire towards. What are the chances that this child will develop a moral reasoning stable enough to enable the necessary cognitive skills which would lead to a critical environmental awareness?

This same child then (maybe) goes to school where she/he has no Mandela, Sobukwe, or Kathrada to identify with; where stereotypes are constantly reinforced by Koos Bekker through KykNet funding literature pertaining to gangsterism for his own entertainment. It is within these same spaces that Heritage Day for most middle-class Coloured children attending quintile 3-5 schools (as part of the smallest minority) is just a reminder that she/he has no identity. To what extent does one expect this child to pursue learning if she/he has no positive representation of her/himself? I have yet to come across a statement or explanation from the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education pertaining to the singularly retarded growth rate and advancement of Coloured academia in a country that fosters such a great culture of learning inclusive of all racial groups, except Coloured people.

It could be that these townships are protesting because Coloured children are exposed to gangsterism and structural violence through exclusion from the time they are old enough to walk through the streets. Biko remarked that township life is enough to kill us, and the statistics do not lie. Violence has no doubt shaped masculinity where the Nommer thrives, be it Mitchell’s Plein or Nyanga, but nowhere else has it filled a vacuum of culture as in the Coloured community. Men kill each other over drugs, women, and “turf”. Yards and flats are simply not big enough for free movement, so they occupy corners. They do not own an identity but might get murdered because somebody feels like he owns his girlfriend since she lives in the street that he controls.

Legislation never worked in our favour; we can neither turn to the private nor government sector. Even if we do, we “sell out” by surrendering beings, right down to our accents for the purpose of survival to people who would rather try our culture on to make a fashion statement (say hi to Die Antwoord) or a joke (hello hi Michael Costa). There is less shame and humiliation in crime in this regard. We have been desensitised to violence to the extent that we do our looting topless, in strap sandals, get shot in the neck, and call it “lekker”.

Along these lines of dispossession, the rage in Coloured people, which this country finds hilarious, has been gaining momentum for centuries. Why the delay? Primarily, the children of slavery do not know what they are owed. They are excluded from the syllabus, teachers’ pedagogy, and curriculum; so why would they go to school? Even if they do, when exactly are they going to learn about themselves in the same economic, social, and legalistic light that their Black peers have the opportunity to? Colouredness has been defined by its body being sold for capital since it was in shackles and chains. What is this group of people owed exactly?

The Master and Servant’s Ordinance (later Act) was first perfected on Coloured slaves, before the Great Trek, and, as such, the Native Land Act of 1913 does not offer sufficient explanation on the matter of land. Moreover, upon speculation of the first form of the Group Areas Act in the first quarter of the 1800s by Adam Tas, the migratory flows of “free blacks” (former slaves) who became land owners after slavery’s abolition, led to the eventual establishment, in one instance, of Adam Kok’s Griqua state which had its own economy and infrastructure. It is simply an epistemic inconsistency and academically lazy not to look further back than the day, as Plaatje stated, “the Black man woke up a pariah in his own land”.

 

It is through this long-winded alienation of a people from their history, identity, family, culture and, ultimately, their land that one completely simplifies the land debate in South Africa to fit a narrative as clear-cut as Black and White. What will happen to South Africa when Coloured people realise that our issue is not “housing”, our issue is imposed landlessness, crime and alcoholism? The oppressed imitates the oppressor; that is what the Coon Carnival and the con of the skollie is rooted in. Although we are laughing, it is not with you. Who is the joke really on if you shot a man in his neck and he called it “lekker”? Why are you laughing?

At the heart of the world’s mortality rate, high blood pressure reels a worrying trend not only among the elderly, as it is often assumed, but shockingly, research suggests that there has been an increase among children, adolescents and young adults. While the globe marked World Hypertension Day, 17 May 2017 under the theme ‘’Know your numbers,’’ it is with sadness that in developing countries and low-income areas the rate among the youth is swelling.

Hypertension, according to the World Health Organisation is an increase in blood pressure, wherein the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress. Each time the heart beats; it pumps blood into the vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.

The normal blood pressure of an adult is 120/80 mmHg and anything higher than that will certainly lead to the early stages of hypertension. Although, it must be noted that low blood pressure (hypotension) can alter dire consequences for one,  which may result in life-threatening conditions such as a weak and rapid pulse, rapid and shallow breathing, cold, and clammy. Read more about low blood pressure here

South Africa is among the world's most affected countries by hypertension placed fifth (5), making it the second most affected in Africa just below Botswana according to World Health Rankings.  Much of this is directly linked to social and behavioural factors. These contributing factors have adverse effects and encourage the rapid rise of hypertension among the youth. More than 90% of youths who are hypertensive suffer from primary hypertension,  a condition that is genetically connected and as a result of unhealthy diet, overweight and stress.

Much of the aforementioned have become too familiar in South African, wherewith studies warn of a rising number of obese children who in most cases grow to be hypertensive. Although government’s intervention is heading in the right direction, thus the legislation of salt on informing that diets must not exceed 5 grams of salt intake per day. However, consumer behaviour, change in societies and the culture of modernisation are not all too easy on the situation. Socio patterns such as alcohol abuse, smoking,  lack of physical exercise and poor diet are among the risk factors for the development of hypertension.

While South Africa is leading the fight among low-income countries to reduce salt intake, it is inevitable and frankly saddening that in a country where the gap between the rich and the poor is big, and where the rate of unemployment among the youth is widening, such a challenge is far too unsettling. Yet, we need to acknowledge interventions and the great work that is done by government, organisations, institutions, health professions and campaigners in addressing and educating people about hypertension and its link to heart diseases and stroke. Moreover, efforts, although they need to be backed with efficient health services, on health awareness and health education need to take centre stage from both government and civil society.
 
By: Muzikayise Mike Maseko 

AgriAid SA works closely within the agricultural sector in delivering primary health care and wellness services in fighting the pandemic of HIV, TB and NCDs. Simply drop off your items in our offices which are located here or organise a box in your area around Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Polokwane and we will pick it up when it is full.
 
Have you ever been in a situation where you did not brush your teeth early in the morning? Think of it, neither you enjoyed the moment you forgot to put on your deodorant. While this did not make your day, how much more of the women who go without basic toiletries every day in agriculture? And not to mention sanitary pads.

For some, affording basic toiletry products is something worth not mentioning and we tend to think of it as essential, yet, many women who are beneficiaries of workers in agriculture and live nearby farming communities have become used to such situations we find particularly unpleasant. Yet alone, periods can be traumatising on their own, how much more they can be when women have to use an old cloth?

The massive backdrop of poverty which exists in these communities has serious implications on the health and the wellness of not only women and men, but children who are vulnerable to communicable diseases. We are calling on you to lend a hand by simply donating any of the following items:

  • Sanitary pads
  • Toothpaste
  • Roll on
  • Soap
  • Body lotion
  • Tooth brush
  • Face cloth

Follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #Toiletries4AgriWomen

For more information, contact:

Muzikayise Mike Maseko

Marketing & PR Officer

Tel: 012 320 8455

Email: muzikayise@agriaids.org.za

Cell: 060 760 9656

AgriAid SA is proud to announce its name change from AgriAids SA to AgriAid SA. The decision came about that the fight against AIDS alone is one that has been drastically suppressed over the years, and that efforts to prevent infected people reaching the AIDS continuum have been an outstanding success. 
 
Thus the removal of the letter ‘’s’’ in the Aids phrase is motivated by this decision, however, the fight against HIV is an ongoing battle, with the link between HIV, TB, and non-communicable diseases (NCD). It is in this light that our main focus is to provide quality health care and wellness services to workers and communities within agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
 
AgriAid SA is an NGO established in 2008 to organise and implement HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and wellness programmes to workers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries across five provinces in South Africa and within 12 districts. The programmes are funded and supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a PEPFAR implementing agency, and the National Department of Health (NDoH). The main goal of AgriAid SA is to reduce the direct effects of HIV and TB on agriculture, forestry and fisheries workers and their beneficiaries. Thus it does by promoting an integrated approach wherein HIV, TB  and NCD awareness are raised through sharing of information, biannual testing and offering treatment as they are essential components in fighting the pandemic.
 
In addition, we have tweaked our old logo to fit in with the current direction the organisation is taking. Check out our home page on http://agriaids.org.za/
 
We look forward to continuing our efforts in ensuring that agriculture, forestry and fisheries workers have access to quality health care and wellness services implemented effectively at their workplace.
 
For more information, contact:
 
Muzikayise Mike Maseko
Marketing & PR Officer
 
Tel: 012 320 8455
Email: muzikayise@agriaids.org.za
Cell: 060 760 9656 

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