Building and maintaining trust enables people to share information, perception and feedback. Children and youth at risk have had experiences that may cause difficulties in maintaining relationships with other people. The child care journey is not always an easy one but our responsibility is always to use our skills for the benefit of the children in our care. It is also a service that provides children with opportunities to rise above their circumstances.
With our holistic approach, we try our best to help them heal and in that process, we learn a lot. We realize that our children help each other in many ways to overcome grief and trauma. They are very caring of each other and very concerned about all those they hold dear. It is humbling to realize, so often, how much capacity for love and caring there is in these children who had such difficult beginnings.
As our children grow older the challenges do not become fewer, only different in nature. Where in the beginning it was often a matter of physical survival, it is now a matter of dealing with trauma that surfaces in different ways. All of them find school work a challenge but rise to it more or less satisfactorily, with the help of dedicated teachers, the homework teacher and CYCW.
We have always focused mainly on regular support to families within our area through ongoing family visits, both at HOKISA or some weekend/holiday stays, engaging parents in their children’s lives and challenges. In the past year, due to the rise and fall of COVID statistics and lockdown levels, this has been a challenge in terms of children being able to visit family in their homes over weekends and holidays. It has had to be a balance of keeping all children and staff at HOKISA safe, adhering to lockdown rules whilst still trying to ensure the best interests of a child is met in terms of family contacts.
The play therapy room at HOKISA continues to be used to conduct individual sessions with children, focusing on specific therapeutic or developmental needs. These sessions are run mainly by the CYCW and our new homework teacher who is also a qualified Occupational Therapist. The children also benefit from the quiet space and individual attention. Two children have also benefitted from individual sessions of more task-centered play therapy through an external organization.
In this month of September South Africans celebrated Heritage day. On this day people are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in a wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people. We encouraged our young HOKISA generation to embrace their identity as well as respecting and understanding cultural diversity.