Despite historical divides and an inequitable distribution of resources, there are many positive aspects to life in Grahamstown where people from diverse backgrounds are involved in community activities and development initiatives. Grahamstown has a history of social activism and involvement in development issues which is evident in the depth and breadth of its NGO community. These organisations range from HIV/AIDS advocacy, care and treatment groups to income generation projects to social welfare services such as Child Welfare – all of which make a positive impact in the community.
Child Welfare Grahamstown is one of the 150 affiliates of Child Welfare South Africa, with 24 of these in the Eastern Cape. It operates as a non-Profit Organisation in the Grahamstown area, Makana Municipality for the welfare of ‘children in need of care and protection’ as stipulated in the children’s Act 38/2005. The organisation, established in 1917, is one of the first Child Welfare Societies in the country and has been servicing the changing needs of a growing community ever since. The organisation’s greatest realisation is the extensive community support it enjoys. This includes active participation by scholars, university students, local business, government and non-government networking partners in various community projects and projects initiated and facilitated by Child Welfare.
While affiliated to Child Welfare South Africa, our organisation is autonomous and we are required to raise our own funding to run our programmes and services. Child Welfare Grahamstown currently caters for ± 20000 children and families (directly and indirectly). Presently 370 children are placed legally through the court in foster homes, whereby social workers provide supervisory services and family re-unifications. In addition to this statutory work and the work done at the pre-school and cluster foster homes at Joza, the organization also runs prevention projects including the Child Protection Action Forum (CPAF), the Sun City After Care Programme, a teenage support group as well as a foster parent support group. These programmes assist in strengthening family units. 98% of our services are provided in historically disadvantaged communities, with staff and management members representing the very communities we serve. Therefore the organisation as such qualifies for a BEE accreditation.