Having a sense of belonging begins with an identity, which includes a name, and an official birth certificate. Those born without their documents are especially vulnerable. During our early years of service, most people we helped did not have birth certificates or identity books. As a result, they spent their lives missing out on opportunities they were entitled to. However, once a person has a birth certificate, he/she is officially known and recognised as a South African citizen. This vital document, in turn, helps children and their caregivers to access social grants that may, at the very least, help to ensure that their basic needs are met. Sizanani’s work these past ten years has focused much attention on advocating for clients in need of documents, so that they may claim their rightful place in society.
When we began more than ten years ago, nearly every family we served had members who did not have a birth certificate or an identification book. To make matters worse, many who died were not granted death certificates. Children who lost their parents, and those who were orphaned or abandoned were most vulnerable. Sadly, those who cared for these children were often unable to access the resources they needed to provide basics like food, school uniforms, and more. In 2006, Sizanani collaborated with Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), Home Affairs, SASSA, SAPS, the Departments of Social Development and Education to host multiple Jamborees where community members could receive needed services in a “one stop shop”. Under the leadership of Sr. Hedwig Maphumulo and our team of caregivers, we helped 2,749 clients (more than half of our total client population) obtain their documents. Sizanani managed to assist another 21 families in their efforts to obtain a death certificates for loved ones. After clients received their documents, Sizanani helped them apply for child support grants, foster care grants, disability grants, and old age pensions. These efforts brought needed financial aid to families, relieving suffering substantially.
The total number of clients who received Birth Certificates (1,680) and Identity Books (1,069) between 2008 and 2009 through Sizanani’s Grant Access Strategy (GAS) partnership. The effects of this initiative continue to be felt by those served today.
The number of home visits conducted by Sizanani’s Social Workers to monitor children placed by us in foster care. This is in addition to the ongoing support that these children and their foster families receive by our home-based care team.
The number of child protection services rendered by Sizanani in 2015/16. While it may be necessary to remove a child from a situation where there is abuse or neglect, our Social Workers strive to provide support to the children involved.