Cape Town – Every two months a small group of volunteers in Cape Town gathers to put together comfort packs which are distributed throughout the province to provide some comfort to children who have been the victims of violence and sexual abuse.
NGO Friends of Child Protection (FCP) put together around 1 200 comfort packs every second month which are collected by the police’s Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units and Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) for survivors of rape across the province.
The packs are age and gender appropriate and contain items such as food in the form of baby formula, cereal or snack packs, clean underwear, and a soft toy like a teddy bear. Each pack costs between R80-100 to put together.
Antonia Zechner, chairperson of Friends of Child Protection, said it was a sad indictment on the state of society that over 1 000 packs had to be prepared every two months.
“Those are just the numbers who come into the system via the FCS units or TCCs for survivors of rape,” she said, adding that the Covid-19 lockdown had seen a huge increase in reported cases.
“These packs give a little comfort to a traumatised child. At FCP we have been packing ‘a little bit of hope, a drop of dignity and a whole lot of love’ into these Comfort Packs since 2002,” Zechner said.
Fuel company Astron Energy has sponsored the most recent batch of over 1 200 comfort packs.
Zechner said the comfort pack was one small way to help lessen the trauma young victims of sexual abuse experienced.
“We find that often the soft toy is an incredible emotional aid for young victims.”
FCP has distributed 2 375 packs so far this year.
The packs are distributed to 25 FCS units in the Western Cape, as well as to Thuthuzela Care Centres in Atlantis, George, Heideveld, Khayelitsha, and Worcester Hospitals, Karl Bremer Hospital, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Victoria Hospital. Packs are also supplied to the Wynberg Sexual Oﬀences courts and four Safeline Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Centres.