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Children are dying because they are migrants

COVID-19 has, unfortunately, shown us how many gaps there are in the Children’s Act of 2005, which is meant to provide all children in South Africa with basic rights.

As per the South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights, section 28, all children in South Africa are entitled to several rights such, as basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services, as well as to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation to name a few.

According to Outreach Foundation’s programme manager for the counselling department, Ethel Munyai, this Act certainly does not cover migrant children.

“I am totally despondent as these rights are just on paper but not actioned. We work with migrants in South Africa and a case we recently came across involved four children who were malnourished due to their parents being unable to work and earn an income during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I was pushed from pillar to post as no one wanted to help.

“I approached several agencies that deal with children’s welfare, and even they were not interested, which really surprised me.

“These four children are just a few of thousands who are battling to survive.

“I eventually found out that the children have to be moved into temporary safe care, which is court-sanctioned, before people will even think of stepping in and this is not a quick process.”

Munyai said that she eventually managed to find a hospital that agreed to assess the children’s health.

“One of the children was immediately admitted as her situation was so serious, and the other two children will receive out-patient care and were taken to a shelter. But for the one child, it was too late.

“My heart breaks for that child and his parents. I cannot believe that he had to die because he comes from a migrant family. He was born in South Africa, but they battled to get him registered.”

According to Munyai, the situation for migrants in South Africa is dire, especially during this time.

“COVID-19 has been bad for everyone in the country, but for migrants, it has other consequences such as being unable to sort their papers out. This makes it hard for them to access health care or employment.

“The consequences of not being able to sort their documentation out results in situations like this, where children are affected and are dying.

“All children, whether they are South African or not should be afforded the rights that are stated in the Act, but that’s not happening.

“They say you can judge a country by the way they treat their children. If that is the case, we are a sad, sad country. I wish for the day that all children in this country are treated equally and are given the opportunity to live a good and healthy life.”

The Outreach Foundation Counselling Centre has provided essential mental health services and support to migrants and South Africans in Johannesburg and Pretoria before and during the pandemic.

Thousands of children are dying because of red tape with regard to migrants
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash


Gift of the Givers as well as the aged, the visually impaired & a children’s home, get much-needed masks

Gift of the Givers receive masks from Outreach Foundation

More than 5,700 masks were donated over the past month to organisations, homes and individuals in Johannesburg by Hillbrow-based non-profit organisation, Outreach Foundation.

Since the organisation was allowed to resume work during lockdown 4, it has made more than 21,500 masks.

Over 9,000 masks have been donated to several organisations, schools and individuals by Outreach Foundation in its bid to help others stay safe during this scary time.

During the first weeks of July,  it donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary School, 300 masks to Tswelopele Frail Care, a nursing home in Hillbrow, 200 masks to the Johannesburg Society for the blind, 50 masks to Twilight Children’s Home in Hillbrow and hundreds more to migrants and individuals in Pretoria as well as in Hillbrow.

On Mandela Day, 18 July 2020, Outreach Foundation’s staff walked around High Point in Hillbrow, and distributed 200 masks to those who were without as well as to the needy living on the streets.

During the last week of July, the organisation donated a further 5,000 masks to Gift of the Givers Foundation, which is the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin. Allauddin Sayed of Gift of the Givers was overjoyed at the donation stating that the masks would go a long way in helping people during this time.

The rest of the masks were donated in the months before, and more masks will be donated going forward.

The Outreach Foundation would like to thank the ELM Hermannsburg and Bread for the World for their generous donations which allowed the organisation to help so many people.

If you would like to assist us in reaching more people with masks, food, or counselling, please purchase a mask from us or donate. Go to our website or email us on or call us on 011 720 7011.

Outreach Foundation donated masks to Tswelepele Nursing Home
Outreach Foundation donated masks to the homeless and other needy people

80 more masks donated

Outreach Foundation donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary School

We have donated 80 masks to Cyrildene Primary school.

Over the past year, our social worker intern helped the children at the school with a number of issues. We just needed to give back some more.

Thanks to all our amazing donors who have helped us help others!

If you would like to donate so that we can assist more people, please click here


Recent Media Coverage:

Outreach Foundation on KayaFM's KayaNews - 7 August 2020

Following our release on the migrant children dying of malnutrition and clearly falling between the cracks, KayaFM interviewed Ethel Munyai, our programme manager for the counselling centre. This audio has the headline news at 07h30 and an excerpt of KayaNews at 8am with Outreach Foundation.


Alex News Coverage - Art is alive and kicking in the City of Joburg

JOHANNESBURG – This year’s Arts Alive festival promises to be even much better and empowers residents of Johannesburg City region.1 day ago

MMC Nonhlanhla Sifumba talks to members of the Media. Photo: Phathu Luvhengo

The mayor of the City of Johannesburg, councillor Herman Mashaba believes the Arts Alive International Festival will give residents in the city region hope.

Mashaba spoke at the launch of this year’s festival on Thursday 29 August at the Joburg Theatre and said that when he became the mayor of the City, he focused his first State of the City Address on the ‘forgotten people’. “We cannot have a situation where we forget about our residents,” he said.

“We have to bring them into the mainstream of our economy and I think we are committed to doing that.”

He said the arts is going to save the City of Johannesburg and help build society as everything revolves around arts.

Mashaba added that he had extensively travelled the world and, in any country, he has ever been, he has made sure that he goes to see the arts in that country.

He thanked the MMC for Community Development, councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba and her team for making the arts part of the mayoral priority which will assist them in driving the economy and build the people.

The City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says the arts will give residents of Johannesburg hope. Photo: Phathu Luvhengo

Sifumba said the City was showcasing artists and their talent during the Arts Alive Festival. Various activities are planned citywide for the entire September to mark Heritage Month. “This is the 27th Arts Alive and, as the City of Johannesburg, we are proud to be part of it – it’s a month-long programme. If you are not living in the City, please relocate because the spring is here,” she said.

Sifumba said their programme will run for the whole month of September. “Arts Alive is about exploring our culture in the City of Johannesburg. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, so Arts Alive is about celebrating that.”

This year Arts Alive Festival launched with Jazz on the Lake on Sunday, 1 September, kicking off a long and stimulating programme for all residents. The festival is a programme which celebrates Joburg’s diversity through music, dance, theatre, community festivals, educational workshops, and art exhibitions.

The 15th InnerCity High School Drama Festival started on Friday, 30 August and will run until Saturday, 7 September where the best production award will be presented to the top high school by the Outreach Foundation. Forty schools have registered to participate in this film production.

The Gauteng Government will host the Intellectual Property and Music Rights Workshop to assist in avoiding the ills experienced by artists in South Africa at Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, Soweto on 16 September.

Among other activities include the inter-continental dance championships to be attended by 15 countries at the Walter Sisulu Hall in Randburg from 26 to 29 September. The dance championship is hosted by the Dance Supreme. The Beat Makers will host a workshop on 21 September to inspire children using music in Region C.

From 13 to 15 September, FNB Art Joburg will host an exhibition with a strong lifestyle component of the fair, encouraging visitors to interact with South African and African creative networks at Sandton Convention Centre.

Details: City of Johannesburg; 011 407 6024.