The Scalabrini Centre’s #access4EVERYchild campaign is assisting families.
South Africa (17 February 2021) – A Zimbabwean woman, who prefers to stay anonymous, says she had been struggling since last year to get her child into school. She went to every school in Parow, but all refused to enrol her child for grade one. As a result, the child spent a year at home. The child turned eight in January.
The mother has a Zimbabwe Exemption Permit. The father abandoned the child, making it difficult for the mother to apply for a passport and permit.
But after seeing a campaign on the Scalabrini Centre’s Facebook page, the mother went back to one of the schools and explained that her child has a right to be in school regardless of being undocumented.
Last year the school refused to even give her an application form, she says. This time she was allowed to apply. She was asked to supply the father’s documents, but she explained she had lost contact with him. The school then sent her an affidavit to sign and certify that she is single and has no knowledge of the father’s whereabouts. A few days later she received an email to say her child had been accepted for grade one.
This is the goal of the Scalabrini Centre’s #access4EVERYchild awareness-raising campaign, connecting children and their families with practical information to access education, healthcare and documentation.
The campaign links people to a specific webpage and a mobile number where they can get information. It focuses on immigrant children, run in partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
People using the service have the option to choose their preferred language.
Scalabrini campaign, advocacy and communications officer Lotte Manicom says, “The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children across South Africa as livelihoods have been affected and essential services, such as education and health, have been disrupted. Children from refugee and migrant backgrounds are amongst the most impacted, and there is a pressing need to make sure they get all the support they can at this particularly challenging time.”
In a ruling in December 2019, Judge President Selby Mbenenge in the Grahamstown High Court stopped the education department from removing or excluding from schools “children, including illegal foreign children, already admitted, purely by reason of the fact that the children have no identity document number, permit or passport, or have not produced any identification documents”.
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens or share your good news with us by clicking here.
Click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast, with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes that there’s good news all around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:
Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll hopefully leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.