• Barbara Hollands

CMR named best performing child protection agency in the Eastern Cape

Lack of hope and poor lifestyle choices resulting in child neglect and abuse are the daily reality of social workers at East London’s Christelike Maatskaplike Raad (CMR), but spirits were boosted by two recent accolades.

CMR East London manager Gaye Moonieya said receiving the award for the best childcare and protection NPO in the Eastern Cape in the inaugural Charlotte Maxeke Service Excellence Awards had been a “wonderful recognition of CMR’s work”.

The awards, under the auspices of the provincial department of social development, took place at the Sun Boardwalk International Convention Centre in Port Elizabeth last month.

Moonieya, who took over as manager of CMR East London a year ago, credited former manager Magda von Solms, who ran the non-profit organisation for 20 years.

“Our main problem is the increase in workload and no increase in posts, so social workers are loaded with more cases because the need is so great. So the award is a wonderful recognition for our hard-working social workers and auxiliary social workers.”

Moonieya said the social fabric of society was disintegrating.

She said drug and alcohol abuse was a problem across the social spectrum.

“From the poorest communities to the suburbs, parents are hooked on drugs and alcohol. People think they can handle cocaine, dope and alcohol but they can’t, and then it is usually one parent that comes to us.

“More and more parents are getting divorced and then accusing each other of various forms of child abuse and some of it is true.”

Moonieya said she even picked up on child abuse accusations on Facebook, but emphasised that these needed to be backed up by formal complaints lodged with CMR or the Children’s Court.

She said another issue plaguing communities was unemployed parents who were “sucked into” a lifestyle of substance abuse. Children were being left in the care of grandmothers, but there were cases where some grandmothers used social grant money to fund their own addictions.

Despite the severity of such cases, Moonieya said her heart had been lifted when her niece and nephew Helena, 12, and George Macdonald, 10, who live in London, paid further tribute to CMR’s work.

“They visited me in East London and saw some of the projects here and have been sending their used clothes and toys for children. George also pitched for CMR to be the recipient of his school’s fundraiser and Helena baked cakes and biscuits with the CMR logo.”

Children at St Aubyn’s independent school on the outskirts of London raised R8000 for CMR by selling cakes, sweets and tickets to a classroom “cinema”.

“I was blown away. They are an inspiration for other children to care about others.”

Originally published in the Daily Dispatch


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