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College Helps Refugee Children survive Xenophobia in South Africa

29/05/2015: South Africa - Photo gallery

A Marist school is looking for volunteers for a project’s summer programme that helps child refugees from neighbouring African countries facing xenophobia in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sacred Heart College is looking for volunteers to help children from neighbouring African countries who are refugees without documents and face injustice in their own continent from Aug. 11-21.

The work involves helping in reading practice and mathematics revision as well as run games, sports, science, arts and computer sessions.

The College started the programme seven years ago, called Three2six, to offer lessons each day throughout the academic year from 3pm to 6pm and according to its website, to “offer protective factors that can build resilience and reduce vulnerability.” 

“These include offering children a sense of belonging, a positive school climate, opportunities for success and recognition of achievement, and a non-violent environment,” it states.

The programme, which includes six teachers who are themselves refugees, also offers one meal each day to the 200 children involved – most from Central Africa.

The volunteers would be taking part in the project’s annual “holiday programme,” which began in 2010 to reduce the risk of child trafficking during the Soccer World Cup.  

The site Eyewitness News published an open letter by an 11-year-old Zimbabwean terrorised by the xenophobia she and her family are experiencing in South Africa. 

“I am scared that no one wants to protect us, not the police and not the government, they will just put us in tents in a football field and justify that we are involved in crimes,” said Danai Pachedu in the letter.

“I hear other children outside our yard laughing and speaking loudly to their parents in foreign languages because they are not afraid,” she added. “Some of those children are Portuguese, Jewish, Chinese, Pakistani, Lebanese and Italian but they are not afraid, they are free.”    

For more information on three2six, visit http://www.326project.com or email bec.bromhead@gmail.com

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