Time to have fun and share thoughts and feelings – the play group at Isibani offers children from the community a safe space to interact with one another, have some FUN and to share their problems with an adult who can counsel and guide them. The kids come every Wednesday at 3pm after school to the centre. During their sessions they have different activities, get some general teachings and can talk about their problems.
How it began
Xolile, our Social Auxiliary Worker started the group in 2012 after attending a Therapeutic Workshop in Johannesburg. She was also motivated by what she was learning in the Social Auxiliary Worker class and saw the need to start some sort of childhood development and abuse prevention program.
We started with 12 children whom we had a history with either through abuse, neglect or other vulnerable living conditions. The number of children is never stable: every child is welcome so they can also invite their friends. Whenever we meet the sessions start with an “ice breaker” which is a fun activity to relax the children and create a fun atmosphere.
We then share information on different topics concerning the children’s lives to make them aware of the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior both in the way they treat others and how others treat them. The aim is to equip and train them for the future: We talk about the importance of setting goals in life, dreams and responsibilities. Other topics are for example, how to deal with anger and that everyone is unique.
Often the children choose the topics themselves, the material then needs to be researched so it can be presented with confidence at the next session.
For the kids, this play group is a chance to talk about issues that affect them and that are important for their development.
We also provide food for the children during the session and for those whom we know to be living in very vulnerable conditions we offer them a lunch box for school the next day. They are able to come to Isibani each day if needed to collect a lunch box for the following day and to chat with staff if any issues have arisen for them since the previous day.
We aim to provide a safe space full of love and fun where the children feel free to share their issues in confidence.