During the school holidays, 12 newly trained women from Willowfontein joined our team to run a holiday programme full of fun, laughter and play. Our goal was to have 100 children participate, we planned for 150 and 203 arrived. Clearly, children want and need this kind of stimulation, that is contained and held safe by adults who care about them. What is the alternative? Beyond the usual good amount of unstructured free play time, there may be boredom, mischief, excess screen time and even exposure to unsafe people/places/activities.
Dlalanathi conducted a child rights situational analysis (CRSA) in Willowfontein in 2019, focused on the child’s right to play. Children themselves identified that play is incredibly valuable to them, but that often safety issues get in the way of play for them. Children said they feel that their parents don’t trust them, don’t give them time to play and keep them at home (due to safety concerns). Having an adult -led holiday club, with adults who are sensitised to the needs of children and who can share joyful experiences, promotes the child’s right to play in a safe environment.
During the recent holiday club, one of the Ward Committee who was there on the day said “Wow our children are so happy! We have never had anything like this in our community before.” Our hope is that this becomes a regular part of the life of Willowfontein.
At dlalanathi, we aim to inspire confidence and impart skills for adults to initiate such programmes, even long after we leave the community. Play should not depend upon dlalanathi being present, but upon responsive, informed adults who wish to provide safe, fun spaces for play and connection. We want to see adults attach the same value to play that children do, and then be inspired them to help make play happen. Thanks to the 12 Willowfontein community members who showed up and played their hearts out with 200+ children, you made a real difference!