17 March 2020

The onset of the Coronavirus affects all sectors of society and this includes our children who are the most vulnerable group.

With the duration of the school holidays being extended – there was no prior notice which means that parents have had not had time to prepare – either financially or otherwise including family support in terms of minding children. Aftercare facilities have also closed.

Alternate child minding facilities come at a cost for those who can afford them.

Where alternate child minding has been arranged with elders and or any other willing persons, in the community – this can compromise elders themselves who do not have physical or financial means to provide nutrition, care and or adequate supervision of the children.

Children are also placed at immense risk – with regard to opportunistic predators (potential perpetrators and paedophiles), also children themselves engaging in risky behaviour (experimentation – substance abuse, sexual acting out, cyberbullying, child-on-child abuse) due to boredom.

The Teddy Bear Foundation will provide awareness programs via media engagement, community and national radio and television stations.  Furthermore, the EAP (Employee Wellness Programme) will address and alert parents to the social ills and risks the coronavirus will expose children to.

What is TBF doing:

Our staff have been briefed and a policy to promote special precautions has been drawn up and circulated.

We have reduced Court Preparation group sizes but increased the frequency so as not to compromise services and meet the needs of children and also where children are able to attend we will provide services to groups of 15 to 20 children per two hours for holiday activities to stimulate them and hand out food parcels to ensure proper nutrition during the holidays. A corona virus precautionary pamphlet will be handed out in English and Zulu.

During these small group interactions – we hope to hand out Food Parcels: (Sugar, Milk, Tea/Coffee, Maize Meal, Rice, Soya, Spreads, Tinned Foods, Soup, Toilet Paper), and also sanitation supplies – Soap (Dettol or Sanex), sanitisers and bottled water. We may also hand out activities for smaller children.

Heat at this time of year is always a concern and now with COVID 19 it is also important, so items such as socks and beanies being handed out will assist the children in combatting the cold.

Some children are at great risk as they were previously recipients of a school feeding scheme and have now been cut off from this without any prior notice.

Our services will continue – we cannot work from home as our service is a face to face service and also this is not realistic for our organization as most of the children we assist come from disadvantaged backgrounds and as such do not have access to digital platforms.