Children's Rights Centre

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The Children's Rights Centre (CRC) started as the Durban Children's Rights Group in 1988. The CRC was a loose network made up of organisations and individuals, founded at a meeting called by the Durban Committee of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) to plan the observation of the 30th anniversary of the declaration of children's rights.

The first committee was formed from the 60 organisations that attended the meeting. For many years the organisation was known as the Southern Natal Children’s Rights Committee, associated with the National Children’s Rights Committee. In 1999, an independent charitable trust was formed and is now the CRC with its own board of trustees. CRC is a registered public benefit organisation under Section 18A Tax exemption status.

CRC’s vision is ‘all rights for every child every day’. The organisation’s mission is to strive to entrench children’s rights into the fabric of society at every level through awareness-raising, training, monitoring, advocacy and building a children’s rights movement, which include children and adults as partners.

CRC’s core area of work is Children’s Rights Practice (CRP) which is essentially informed by and consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the South African Constitution. In addition to meeting legal obligations of the convention to spread awareness of children’s rights to children and to adults, teaching children about their rights has the benefits of improving their awareness of rights in general, making them more respectful of other people's rights, and empowering them to take action in support of other people's rights.

CRP translates into the four pillars of the organisation being; survival, development, protection and participation. These pillars in turn translate into the following programmes of the organisation:

  • Play (play centres, play work and active playgrounds);
  • Health (Yezingane Network, child protection, safeguarding and health education);
  • Children’s Rights Education/Training (CRP training, play training, child participation training, child protection and living positively);
  • Child Participation (children have a say and Yezingane child participation);
  • Keeping Children Safe (child protection policies, eye on the child, holiday clubs and child safety nets); and
  • Communication (information sharing, social media and networking)

CRC has a track record of delivering in children’s rights awareness raising and advocacy covering a span of 22 years, training and developing materials for 15 years. The following stories are a few examples of the difference CRC’s work has made in the lives of children and adults.

The story of an eight-year old girl living in a rural community of KwaZulu-Natal, who did not speak, did not laugh, did not respond to others as a result of a long history of bereavement, neglect, abuse and stigmatisation. Workshop participants brought her to the attention of CRC when the organisation was conducting training for a local community-based organisation. While making arrangements, she was taken to the workshop play corner with other children and within a short while, this silent, sad child was playing, speaking and laughing. Her rights to play were realised, her well-being improved and her social integration was initiated.”

Children from a rural area outside of Durban, who identified and organised help for an older man whose dwelling was collapsing. Together with their adult facilitator they mobilised the local leaders to have his dwelling repaired. The children themselves were from themselves child-headed households. This initiative stemmed from the photo documentary community mapping project. This is an example of practical meaningful children’s participation that CRC promotes in training, awareness raising and advocacy.

The story of a 15-year old boy, left alone in Durban by his mother, scared and alone, who did not want to live on the streets. CRC helped him to find care, housing and to make sure that he completed his schooling. The boy visited the organisation weekly to check-in, to update the organisation how the week had gone, to exchange smiles and have a bite to eat. He was part of the community. Unfortunately, he was killed at the age of 18 in a mugging when another youth stole his backpack which contained his precious matric (high school graduation) results. CRC helped ensure that his rights were realised, but there was still more to do, there is still more to be done - to prevent violence, to promote peace, to keep families together and caring for each other.

The story of the director of Kulani Golang community-based early childhood development organisation in Limpopo who had a garment embroidered with children’s rights so that she could promote children’s rights everywhere she went.

The story of children in Gauteng who select the children living positively handbook as their storybook of choice every night. Their rights to information and to participate in their health care supported.

There are many such stories that validate CRC’s assumptions and illustrate the findings of the regularly conducted external evaluations that the CRC’s actions and engagements are effective in making children’s rights real and in supporting others to stand up for children’s rights in their daily lives and in policy implementation. These stories and many others flow together and have resulted in CRC being considered as the first point of contact that helps individuals and organisations to be more effective in promoting children’s rights where children live and learn.

The CRC has over the span of 25 years also produced and disseminated various publications and resources on children’s rights.  Some of them being: The Peace Star, Children Living Positively Series, Including Children - Ethical Guidelines on Child Participation and many others.

In 2012, the CRC established a training centre at its offices in Westville, Durban. The organisation has an excellent reputation in the sector for quality children‘s rights training and has been providing training for the past 20 years. 

The following training programmes are offered by CRC:

  • Making Children’s Rights a Reality’ - Introduction to children’s rights and its practical application in work with children and families;
  • ‘Including Children’ - The meaning and practice of child participation from a children’s rights perspective;
  • ‘A Chance to Play’ - Practical skills and motivation to ensure all children have a right to play every day; and
  • ‘Living positively’ - Treatment literacy and psycho-social support for young children with HIV.

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