The Bishop Simeon Trust is a UK charity that helps vulnerable children in South Africa. We work with community-led organisations in Ekurhuleni Municipality, a relatively neglected area to the South East of Johannesburg to which we have been committed for nearly 30 years. We pride ourselves on long-standing relationships of trust and collaboration.
The communities we serve face multiple challenges: persistent poverty, HIV/AIDS, stigmatisation, marginalisation. We believe that people working together can overcome these problems and regularly see people show great resourcefulness, compassion and dignity in the face of great challenges. Together we are committed to assuring that the most vulnerable children have a positive and safe childhood.
People in Ekurhuleni live in incredibly difficult circumstances. 15% of the population live with HIV/AIDS, 18% of households have no income and one third of all children go hungry every day – that’s around 300,000 children.
In these circumstances children are left vulnerable and experience high rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, peer relationship difficulties, suicidal urges, delinquency and homelessness. They struggle to access education, social services and health, thereby denying them the possibility of reaching their full potential, as well as the right to dignity for themselves and their families. These are the children and young people that the future of South Africa depends upon.
Our support is focussed on supporting local community led organisations to develop two main services in line with national standards: Early Childhood Development Centres and Isibindi Safe Parks. This combination of services provides vital protection and support for children from the age of zero to eighteen.
Our community partners and their teams of Child and Youth Care Workers can reach up to 2,000 vulnerable children each day. A Child and Youth Care Worker is more than just a member of staff. To children they are a trusted friend, big brother or sister, surrogate parent, educator, self-esteem builder or counsellor when times are hard. They help families by instilling structure at home, assure children attend school and their families register for government grants or educational bursaries. They also link to other protection services, providing referrals to social work and health support. They seek to be what a vulnerable child needs in their lives, in their communities and when they need it.
By helping Safe Parks to work towards nationally accredited standards they can qualify for sustainable statutory support. Our aim is for them to be sustainable and independent of us as they help young people to grow into the leaders of tomorrow, capable of building a better South Africa for their children.
Find out more at www.bstrust.org