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Date: 10 Jun 2012
Title: Mamelodi gets modern social development centre
By Nthambeleni Gabara
Mamelodi - Gauteng MEC for Rural and Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza unveiled a modern, integrated social development centre in the heart of Mamelodi, east of Pretoria on Saturday.
The state-of-the art facility, named the Matimba Sinqobile Social Integrated Centre, comprises an early childhood development (ECD) centre with the capacity to accommodate 120 children, a day centre for the elderly which can take up to 120 senior citizens and an orphanage and other vulnerable children centre which has space for 120 children.
There is also a community hall and a kitchen at the facility.
The centre was built at a cost of R26 301 067 and created 750 jobs.
The MEC told local residents gathered at the official opening on Saturday that the construction of the Matimba Social Centre affirmed government's commitment to increasing access to early childhood development services on the doorstep of the community.
"It is important to note that the ECD programme is a major intervention implemented to foster the early development of a child and it serves as an intervention in promoting access to quality basic education.
"This programme also serves as a poverty and safety measure in respect of children and the department is making strides towards the principle of universal access to ECD," she said.
Mayathula-Khoza said they had deliberately built an integrated facility because the plight of the elderly in society remained central to the plans of the department. "We have to make sure that their rights are protected and they are not exposed to conditions of abuse and neglect," she said.
The MEC added that more ECD centres and places for older persons would be launched in the province in the coming months.
General Manager of the orphanage and other vulnerable children centre, Luyanda Sisusa, said: "We've been struggling with a building with a capacity to accommodate more children. We are happy and believe that this new facility will make our work easy."
The opening of the centre formed part of events to mark the closing of the provincial programme for Child Protection Week. The campaign advocates for children's rights as well as educates and mobilises families and communities about their responsibility towards the protection and care of children.
It is also focuses on informing and educating the public on the comprehensive basket of services needed by children in their emotional, cognitive and physical development.
Regarding the plight of girl children who cannot afford to buy sanitary towels which leads to absence from school, Mayathula-Khoza said her department had begun distributing dignity packs containing Vaseline, body lotion, toothpaste, roll-on and sanitary towels.
Since 2011, a total of 70 000 girl children have benefited from the programme. The department intends to increase the beneficiation to 150 000 children.
The MEC said training had also been offered on how to dispose of the sanitary pads in an effort to maintain health standards.
Through this initiative, the dignity and rights of the girl child were restored and the rate of school attendance had improved, said Mayathula-Khoza.
"As a department, we are considering expanding this programme to boy children as well as children with albinism. Their package will include sunscreen and a hat in addition to the usual dignity pack," she said.
In an effort to strengthen support to child-headed households and other vulnerable children, the province will witness a Social Development Department-led child and youth care work programme named Isibindi over the next three years.
"During its phase, the programme will realise the training and deployment of over 200 child and youth care workers to provide psychosocial support to child headed families, other vulnerable children," she said.
Regarding War on Poverty, the MEC said a total of 81304 households will be profiled for services during the 2012/2013.
Since access to food is a challenge to most poor families, the MEC said during this financial year, a total of 101 000 daily meals be provided to needy households. - BuaNews