The issue of non-documentation for children is a very serious one. A number of rights are affected by documentation: identity, nationality, access to education, access to health care and social grants (foster, child support, disability), tertiary education, lawful employment, credit and bank facilities & access to housing. These rights are the basics for a stable and happy family structure. When missing, all rights are denied leaving both the children and the entire family feeling invisible, hopeless and scared for the future. This makes it impossible to participate meaningfully in society, and therefore reliant on sad and desperate measures to survive.
The Kids Haven Justice Programme works with children and their families to ensure they find security, such as applying for documentation or positive parenting programmes. In some cases, something as little as a food parcel provides such security to an entire family.
The most common reasons surrounding lack of documentation include:
- Many undocumented children have undocumented parents;
- Fear of deportation and mistrust – many foreign nationals come to South Africa for refuge from war-torn, conflict areas;
- Many unaccompanied children and teenagers travel to South Africa and end up in care without any parental support and/or documentation;
- Lack of education and awareness – parents do not always understand the importance of registering a birth;
- There are complex issues surrounding the late registration of a baby – for many parents, travelling to a Home Affairs office to register a baby within the first 30 days is problematic and for others, proving a birth at a later stage is almost impossible;
- Women who have home births (often far from service providers like hospitals or social workers that can help) are met with many challenges;
- It is very difficult to ‘prove’ a birth a few years down the line and the requirements are quite cumbersome for families/parents. Some don’t meet the criteria or cannot provide adequate proof of the child’s birth in South Africa;
- Abandoned babies;
- Children with deceased parents often struggle to obtain documentation, especially if documents were lost/misplaced and
- Many street children do not have documents and no safe place to keep such documents, even when issued.
You can get involved by volunteering, donating money or second hand goods.
If you think your company could help make a difference please contact us.