Children's Rights Centre (CRC)

We seek to contribute to the development of a sustainable child-friendly society in South Africa, with child-friendly policies and practices at all levels of society based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, African Charter on the Rights & Welfare of the Child, and the South African Constitution. We do this through awareness-raising, training, monitoring, advocacy, information sharing and building a children's rights movement including children and adults as partners.
Feb 25, 2013

Newly Launched Project!

Dear valued Donors,

We are pleased to announce our newly launched project on Global Giving! We are very excited about this project which focuses on preventing HIV being transmitted from HIV positive mothers to their babies. This is a major issue needing to be addressed in South Africa and one that we are excited to be working on.

Please click the link below to see the project on the Global Giving website, and the next link below to see our first report giving additional details about what work we have started on the project. We would greatly appreciate if you could support us in this project in any way.

Thank you,

Kyle Ballard.

Feb 22, 2013

Timeline and Planned Activities

Welcome to our newly launched 'Elimination of Mother-To-Child Transmission Campaign'!

HIV transmission from an HIV positive mother to her new born child is a preventable occurrence, and one which must become the norm in South Africa if we are to have any hope of defeating HIV. Although we have been involved in this work since 2003, this is our first campaign that we have posted onto GlobalGiving. We have much work to do and look forward to partnering with donors across the world as we strive to make HIV a thing of the past.

This is a project which has been fully endorsed by the South African National AIDS Council (the highest national policy and programme decision making body in the country - see Yezingane Network is the children's sector representative on this council, and the mechanism through which this campaign will be implemented.

The Yezingane Network is a civil society network of organisations working to address the impact of HIV and AIDS, TB and STI’s on children, families and communities in South Africa. The Yezingane Network has represented children and children’s voices on the South African National AIDS Council since 2003 and continues to be one of the most organised and influential civil society movements in South Africa. There are a total of 194 members of Yezingane Network and an overall reach of approximately 17000 organisations in South Africa due to many of those members being networks themselves. The network consists of members from a wide variety of expertises and includes NGO’s, CBO’s, FBO’s, Networks, as well as Regional, National and International organisations. The Yezingane Network has developed a successful and cohesive model of networking and collaboration. Provincial Representatives of the Yezingane Network initiate provincial meetings and ensure that province and district specific issues are raised, collated and presented at the various AIDS Councils. Multi-sectoral collaboration, a bottom up approach, and results based programming, are foundational to the success of Yezingane Network. Genuine representation of children and children’s issues at the necessary policy and practice decision making spaces for HIV, TB and STI’s is ensured through child participation techniques and opportunities, as well as by the Network being accessible and inclusive of all child stakeholders. Yezingane Network is thus appropriately positioned to take responsibility for the implementation of this Campaign and look forward to impacting South African perceptions and practices around HIV, children, and pregnancy.

Please do not hesitate to contact us about more information about this campaign, our approach to it, and about the impact we are making.

Thank you,

Kyle Ballard.

Dec 19, 2012

Youth, Youthfulness, and Child's Play

"My Living Positively" Book
"My Living Positively" Book

Congratulations, It's a Book!

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to visit the Children's Rights Centre in Durban.

I met their program and communications staff at their brand new building in order to get a tour of their facilities and spend a few hours chatting via skype with a beneficiary of their most recent publication, "My Living Positively" children's book. The hour-long conversation was spirited, informative, and inspiring. But the icing on the cake was getting to join the office for a delicious leftover "brai" (South African BBQ).

The "My Living Positively" workbook is already impacting thousands of children, aiding caregivers and social workers to better explain to young children and teenagers the realities of HIV, including how they can better advocate for themselves. The book, a glossy and attractive booklet of photos, real stories, coloring material, charts, facts, and figures, is the ultimate companion for children, caregivers, and practioners.

My favorite piece of feedback came from Shanaaz Randeria of the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute, who has been using the book to run workshops and play therapy for children:

"Using the stories from the book makes it a lottle more acceptable for children and their caregivers to normalize HIV. Also, the advantage of using the handbook is that it speaks in a language that is understandable to children and caregivers, but still gives relevant and important information."

The CRC's Play-full Environment

Besides the huge success of "My Living Positively" it was a treat getting to know the staff at CRC as well. 

I will never forget the many conversations I had with Julie, CRC's executive director, about what it means to do truly transformational work in the children's rights arena, and the importance of partnering with young people (with all their "digital talents") in future advocacy efforts. As a relatively young person myself, it gave me hope to hear from leadership of a well-established organization that it's still important to create space for people like myself.

Janet, who hosts workshops for HIV+ children in the townships and rural areas, was excited to show me another publication that CRC released called the "The Chance to Play", which details and documents various do-it-yourself and street play games for children across South Africa, from self-made board games on cardboard to soccer goal posts constructed from wood and/or plastic.

Jacquie, who works on communications and social media for the organization, was knee-deep in preparations for their Annual General Meeting presentation on "virtual learning" for a group of community stakeholders. Her passion for using technology to further social progress shone through when she took an impromptu 20 minutes to chat with me in the staff room about NGO culture, new media trends, and using youth pop culture as a gateway for education.

Meanwhile, Kyle, whose office is nicknamed the "fish tank" (and so who makes funny floating-fish movements when you walk by, is the go-to guy for nearly everything: from setting up skype meetings to gather feedback from practioners, to managing the GlobalGiving profile (really well, I must add), and being the liason between government and civil society's new initiative to create a national guide to disclosing (HIV status) for children.

CRC's culture of openness, determination, creativity, and "fun" oozes from every single member of the staff. I'm so inspired by their dedication to empowering HIV+ children to better understand their illness, to boost their confidence when it comes to working with health practitioners, and most importantly, to maximize the impact of their work by sharing their research, findings, and successful strategies with the world. I can't express how thankful I am for their work here.

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