South Africa Government to facilitate adoptions


By MARVIN CHARLES


The latest amendments made to Sections 249 and 259 of the Children’s Act of 2005, which will mean the government will facilitate all adoptions, have been met with concern by adoption NGOs, children and youth- care organisations.
Operations director at Door of Hope, Nadene Grabham, said: “We are disappointed to hear of these amendments and are concerned about how they will affect future adoptions. Not only adoptions, but all those in the child-care space who are trying to tackle the massive problem we have in South Africa of vulnerable and orphan children. At the end of the day, it is the children who will suffer the most.”

Grabham said these changes could lead to the closing of many NGOs and related services that help to facilitate adoptions.

“There will be no way for them to sustain themselves in running their organisations and paying liveable wages to adoption social workers as well as other staff who are required to run these private, specialised service providers. Child and youth care centres will lose key partnerships with these NGOs. Without adoptions being facilitated, child and youth care centres will reach their capacities shortly thereafter. Space will run out and new children, desperate for care, will have no place to go.”

Grabham said there would be more challenges for thousands of children in the future.

“Children will lose the wonderful opportunity of being welcomed into adoptive families. These children will place an even greater burden on an already incapacitated system. Many more children will get stuck in the system indefinitely. Numerous surviving NGOs and child and youth care centres will probably find a new set of challenges they will have to face. For some it will include dealing with older children in their care.”

Last week, the Department of Social Development drafted last-minute changes to the proposed draft amendments that are aimed at excluding all private professionals from the adoption process in South Africa. The proposals include making it illegal for anyone working in the adoption sector to charge a fee for their services.

These specific amendments dealing with professional fees and adoptions were made by the department and hastily pushed through after the initial consultation processes with the NGO sector had already been completed in July and August last year. These changes were not part of the drafts that were consulted with the adoption sector.

The chairperson of the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (Nacsa), Katinka Pieterse, said: “We were not properly consulted about these proposed amendments. There were no discussions about these specific amendments. This is a radical shift and we are concerned because NGOs that render adoption services will not be able to claim or be reimbursed for medical services, lawyers or occupational therapy.”

MEC for social development, Albert Fritz, has condemned the bill.

“I call on the national minister (of social development) , Susan Shabangu, to urgently review the amendments in light of the many concerns voiced by the adoptive community.

“In a country with an estimated 3.7 million orphaned and vulnerable children, legislation should facilitate seamless adoptions. However, due to a systemic bias within the national department against adoption, adoptions are kept relatively low when compared with other forms of alternative care. This amendment will further ensure the number of adoptions halts to zero.”


Source iol


SA: Young social entrepreneurs can change our country – but they need help


By Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana


Creating opportunities for young people has to be South Africa’s number one priority and it needs to be a coordinated effort that extends beyond a focus on creating jobs to include fostering positive entrepreneurship communities, writes Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana.


Just over half a million young people are celebrating having achieved their matric in 2018, but what kind of a future are they facing in South Africa?

The terrible reality in this country is that too many will struggle to take the next step of either enrolling in further education or starting work.

Youth unemployment is a critical challenge.

According to recent estimates, we have about 6.1 million unemployed youth in South Africa and, in a sluggish economy, it is likely these numbers will keep on growing.

Last year’s Job Summit vowed to create 275 000 new jobs a year, but this will hardly make a dent.

It will take a decade to create employment for only a third of those who need it. Who knows by how much the number of young job seekers will have grown by then?

In other words, there may be more jobs, just not enough. We need to go further – and faster.

Faced with such odds, a shift in focus is urgently needed.

The Jobs Summit took an important step in the right direction. Government, labour, business and community leaders came together to agree on a plan of action to spark growth in the jobs market.

The plan included response teams to help struggling businesses to prevent retrenchments, create training schemes, promote local exports, and mobilise finances for their businesses.

But to create opportunity at scale, there must be an equal, if not greater, emphasis on investing in the people who go on to create jobs – entrepreneurs.

And not just any entrepreneurs; we need, especially, innovative social entrepreneurs who can create their own opportunities while also tackling social challenges.

Increasingly, entrepreneurship is recognised globally as a key area for addressing poverty, inequality, and unlocking economic growth potential with organisations like the World Economic Forum, through the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, promoting social entrepreneurship in particular as a catalyst for social change. Social enterprises essentially use market-driven strategies to tackle critical social issues in brand new ways.

Unfortunately, South Africa does not show up strongly as an entrepreneurial country, social or otherwise.

According to the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the country continues to perform poorly relative to economies of a similar type (what the WEF calls efficiency-driven economies).

This is despite the fact that many South Africans, especially those who live in local communities, are brought up around entrepreneurship.

They have parents and grandparents who run small businesses, most often selling things in the community.

However, this kind of survivalist entrepreneurship does not grow economies or change societies. We need courageous, competitive, innovative entrepreneurs who think beyond just surviving if we want to move the dial on opportunities for youth.

This is, of course, easier said than done. It requires an immense amount of coordinated support and development that should start in school and extend into post-school opportunities.

The younger a person starts to experiment with entrepreneurship, the sooner they learn to bounce back from failure, and the sooner they can begin building networks through which they can gain opportunities and support.

The good news is that young people are eager for this. Contrary to negative stereotypes about disengaged and demotivated youth, most are hungry for opportunity and willing to work hard to get it.

Through our work at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business, we have seen many young people embrace the idea that they can start something themselves that not only earns an income but also solves the problems they see in the communities around them.

The Bertha Centre invited social entrepreneurs to join a UCT GSB Solution Space incubation programme in Philippi in 2018; we received 127 applications.

We can support only 20 a year but, according to a new report by Endeavour Insight and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, when it comes to fostering productive entrepreneurship communities, a small number of high potential entrepreneurs can have a significant impact – if they are able to reach scale.

The report recommends a “bottom up” approach that involves paying attention to what is needed and what works in specific contexts and to build on that. Linking those who have already succeeded with those who are just starting out is key and is a function that we believe we are well placed to perform.

Through our work in Philippi, we are also closely listening to what young entrepreneurs themselves are saying. The youth in Philippi envisage a community that is supportive of all people.

There should be recreational activities for young children; health and wellness, aftercare and old age care services; physiotherapy, rehabilitation services and community events; and, platforms for creatives such as writers, poets, singers and artisans.

From this list, not only do we get an insight into what communities such as Philippi feel they need, but we also see opportunities for social innovation and entrepreneurship.

These young people know what is needed in their communities. If they could be given the skills and support to respond to these issues with smart, profitable solutions then essentially you not only create businesses – and jobs – but you begin to create thriving communities.

If we work together to improve the prospects for young people in communities like Philippi and tackle the problem at multiple levels – at home, at school, and in the workplace – we can make progress.

As Naledi Pandor, Higher Education and Training Minister said on unemployment, “South Africa is going to succeed at addressing its problems only in so far as we manage to establish partnerships across different stakeholder groups.”

Young social entrepreneurs are a crucial stakeholder.

They are hungry for opportunities and they have the power to change our country for the better.

But they cannot do it on their own, they need our (government, business, social service organisations, academia’s) help.


Source City Press


South African pilgrims says “love is all you need in World Youth Day in Panama”


By Francesca Merlo


Young South African pilgrims say they are struck by the generosity shown them by the people of Panama, to the point they are now truly inspired to change the world.


“They showed us humbling love”, says young Nicole from Johannesburg, who is here in Panama for World Youth Day.

She is referring to her life-changing experience in the Days in the Diocese, in which she went from her hometown “where there is so much” to “a town where they have nothing”. They have nothing, she says, “yet they gave it all to us”.

The most beautiful face of Jesus
Marco, who is travelling with her, describes this as “the most beautiful face of Jesus you’ll ever see”. It is the time he spent with this “young and most unjaded society”, he says, that is making this such a once in a lifetime experience. So what is he going to take back home with him? Marco doesn’t hesitate: “I’m going to go back and change the world”, he says.

Why? “Because that’s what’s necessary”.

Inspiration to change
Change is clearly on a lot of people’s minds. And it’s mostly inspired by the kind of love that they have been experiencing here at WYD.

Marco may be returning in hope of changing the world, but Nicole is going back with every intention of changing herself: “I really am,” she insists.

Varadzo is the third member of the group.

She has every intention of taking back “some of the love received here”. Because according to all three of the young pilgrims, along with joy, faith, peace and humility “all you need is love”!

And to them, Panama has it all.


Source Vatican News


South Africa: IEC reaches out to youth ahead of final voter registration weekend

The Electoral Commission of South Africa hopes to add 1 million more voters to the roll this weekend.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) today said it was ready for the final voter registration weekend taking place on Saturday and Sunday, and hoped at least one million additional voters would be added to the roll.

Addressing media in Centurion, Glenn Mashinini, the IEC chairperson, said preparations were being made for the country’s 22 925 voting stations to open from 8am until 5pm over the weekend. This would allow new voters to register and also allow existing voters to update and confirm their addresses and registration details.

“The electoral commission is ready to conduct voter registration at all our voting stations throughout the country. We wish to reinforce our clarion call to every South African, particular the young people, that this coming weekend provides us with the final opportunity for us to be able to participate in the upcoming elections. This is the last window for every South African to come forward,” said Mashinini.

“We particularly wish to appeal to the young people. As much as we have been successful in that over 70 percent of eligible voters in South Africa are registered, we have demographic information that tells us that we have almost 10 million South Africans who are eligible to vote but are not registered. Almost two thirds of those people are our young people between the ages of 18 and 30.”

Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said voting stations would be staffed by an average of three registration officials to assist voters.

“The electoral commission is hopeful that voters who are registered will use the opportunity to visit their voting stations to check their registration and specifically to confirm and update their address details. Registered voters can also do this online via the ‘click, check and confirm’ facility on the electoral commission’s website at http://www.elections.org.za,” said Mamabolo.

Voters should take their barcoded ID book, smart card ID or temporary ID certificates when they go to register. Home affairs offices would also be open countrywide to coincide with registration, meaning eligible voters would be able to collect their ID documents or to obtain a temporary ID certificate in order to register.

Registration for South Africans living abroad will take place at South African foreign missions between February 1 and 4.


Source African News Agency


South Africa: Youth rolls out anti-tyre burning campaign


By Kailin Daniels


THE youth organisation, UNLASA (United Nations Leadership Academy of South Africa), is embarking on a peaceful picket protest on Saturday, January 26, to create awareness around the destructiveness of tyre-burning in the city.

The campaign, spearheaded by UNLASA’s CEO, Henry Jacobs, has been launched to empower communities and educating the youth on the destructive nature that destroys infrastructure.

“The tendency is that when people, specifically in the northern areas, are unhappy about anything, they burn tyres,” Jacobs said.

“This is not solving a problem; it’s aggravating it. It is destroying the very infrastructure we need to survive,” he added.

The anti-tyre burning protest will start from 09:00 until 12:00 this Saturday. Learners from various schools, mainly in the northern areas, will occupy intersections on Stanford Road and congregate for a series of speeches by youth leaders, opposite Cleary Park shopping centre.

Jacobs said, “The project is run by the youth for the youth. Learners will stand with placards and posters along Stanford Road and at the intersections.” According to Jacobs, infrastructure will be spared, parents will be able to go to work, schools will function as per normal and everyone will benefit.

One of the youth members, Munier Ahmed, said that the campaign would ensure that the youth had a future.

“It is our campaign. We are the future and we need to do something to ensure that we have a future. UNLASA is the platform for the youth by the youth. Each student represents a school.

“We provide all the tools to get the message out there. Stop burning and start learning. People should protest for change and not destruction,” Ahmed said.

The youth will be holding placards, slogans, banners and cars will be asked to ‘hoot’ if they agree.

Jacobs added, “Learners from various schools will wear their school uniforms and will be supported by partner organisations, community members, NGOs and government organisations.

“We ask the community to join us in making a difference.”


Source News24