Taking care of the generations that come after us.
Every year the 12th of August is celebrated as International Youth Day, and this year the theme is Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages. The truth is that all age groups in South Africa currently face many obstacles, but our children are especially vulnerable.
Statistics show that our children are bearing the brunt of poverty, crime and violence, as well as poor service delivery and inadequate access to essentials like water, electricity and health care. The trauma that children experience as a result of these challenges has the potential to lead to physical as well as mental health problems throughout their lifetime, as well as increasing their likelihood for substance use disorders, early pregnancy and death by suicide. We simply cannot claim that we are a society for all ages when our children are suffering and not receiving the care and support they need from the adults who are in charge of their care.
The good news however is that change is possible, and each of us can assist the children around us and make sure that they are being taken care of both physically and emotionally.
Statistics South Africa estimates that 17 million, or 28,07% of our population is aged younger than 15 years. Those are 17 million lives that are dependent on adults to meet their emotional, physical and psychological needs. While none of us are in a position to help all of those children, each of us can help at least one of them. This responsibility does not only fall onto parents or caregivers. Teachers, healthcare workers, police officers, social workers, church members, government employees and business owners all play various roles in the well-being of children in their community.
Josh Shipp said, “Every kid is ONE caring adult away from being a success story.” At HealingLeaves we know this to be true. As a safe and loving adult, you have the potential to change the trajectory of a child’s life. You may not be able to provide everything they need financially, you may not always be able to protect them from harm, and you may not always feel that what you have to offer is enough to make a difference. But the truth is that your time, attention, trust and love can make a massive difference in the lives of the children around you.
There is a proverb that says “Each generation will reap what the previous generation has sown.” Let us be the generation that sows love, justice, and healing so that our children can grow up to break the cycles of generational trauma threatening their future.