South Africa has one of the highest incidents of violence and sexual abuse in the world. There is inadequate data to quantify the exact extent of the prevalence of abuse in South Africa but it is without doubt that the children of our land and amongst the most vulnerable.

Little research has been conducted along these lines with deaf children specifically. There are multiple factors making deaf children more vulnerable to abuse than hearing children. One of the significant factors is that deaf children do not benefit from incidental learning (this is what we learn indirectly through overhearing, TV, radio etc. –it is estimated that 80% of what we know is learnt incidentally). Since deaf children do not gain information this way, their world knowledgeis restricted which impacts their safety substantially. There are additionally immense barriers in reporting abuse and receiving therapeutic help.

We realise that deaf children in South Africa face a safeguarding emergency; a situation of extreme vulnerability.

Safeguarding has always been an area of focus for Thrive, much thought has gone into deciding how we can have the most impact in this space. We are currently working on the design and implementation of a safeguarding programme, aimed specifically at deaf children. Some of the key elements of the programme include; understanding appropriate behaviours, aiding emotional intelligence, giving critical world knowledge about growing up and relationships, tools to set healthy boundaries with others, persistence is asking for help.

A child who has the skill to advocate for their own well-being and understand their personal development will gain immensely and significantly reduce the risk of abuse that they face. Working in this space of preventionand empowerment will yield outcomes that are sustainable and we aim for this to impact the children that we work with for their lifetime.

If you are able to fund this portfolio of work then it would be deeply appreciated if you could get in touch with us