Sexual Abuse in Aboriginal Community

In early 2007, reports began to arise in Northern Australia of Aboriginal child abuse, and within months ABC TV’s “Lateline” had filmed a story about the issue. However, no one knew the cause of the problem or how far it reached. Some even denied any problem whatsoever.  Yet within the last year, government research and reports (the Territory Government appointed a panel to investigate) have shown that “there’s sexual abuse of children in almost every Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory, possibly in all of them.”

Furthermore, the claim is made in these reports that alcohol and pornography are the root of the problem. Definitive evidence of abuse was found in each one of the 45 communities visited by government officials, with children as young as 3 being abused. Shockingly, or perhaps not so shockingly, these children are growing up to become sexual criminals as well, and some are well into adulthood by now- disturbing proof that this problem may have gone on unnoticed for decades. The panel made 97 suggestions on what should be done now that the information is clear and definite proof for the public, the most important being to make this sexual abuse crimewave the number 1 emergency priority in Australia.

Also, the panel wants to increase the number of Indigenous children into the education system as well as improving sex education in schools and creating a new government position, Commissioner For Children.  Prime Minister John Howard released on June 15th the “Children Are Sacred” plan, increasing alcohol restrictions in the Northern Territory, linking welfare payments to child school attendance, and acquiring a large number of leases on Aboriginal communities. Critics have said the plan is culturally insensitive and paternalistic, but on both sides Aboriginal leaders and government officials look forward to partnership and moving forward to end this problem as quickly and efficiently as possible while caring for and supporting the victims of these crimes.

A link to a youtube video about he child abuse controversy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA6mn6Sif40

Information gathered from ABCnews.net and ipsnews.net

Carol Dyanti, Soweto

Imagine having thousands of children calling you “mum” and demanding your love, attention, care and advice. That is everyday life for Carol Dyanti, known affectionately as Mama Carol to more than 1,700 orphans in Soweto. Mama Carol, of Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry, oversees the care of these children in over 225 homes throughout Soweto. All of these children live in child-headed households, and have seen firsthand the true devastation of AIDS. Ikageng provides mentoring, life skills, and counseling to help children in these child-headed households grow into well-developed adults who can contribute to their communities. Siblings continue to live together in their homes, creating strong sibling solidarity and promoting the family unit and structure. Through the provision of basic needs such as food, clothing, transportation, water, electricity, school fees, healthcare and transport, Ikageng relieves some of the pressure and despair faced by these young children, who, having lost their parents, must take on adult roles.

Mama Carol, who was a nurse before she became a mother to hundreds, began noticing the children in her community were mostly orphans. As she started taking care of them, the head nurse where she worked told her she must make a choice between her job and her community service- for Carol, this was not a choice at all. She had to continue helping these children. And she certainly has. As CEO and founder of Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry, Mama Carol has no simple job description. She does whatever needs to be done to help her children. As a former activist who helped to end Apartheid, she knows that all it takes for change is one person. Mama Carol is that one person, and she inspires change in all who hear her story.

Learn more about Mama Carol and Ikageng Itireleng at http://www.ikageng.org.za/

Information gathered from the Ikageng Itireleng and the Keep a Child Alive websites.

Phymean Noun’s work in Cambodia

Walking down a street in Cambodia’s capital city, Phymean Noun finished her lunch and tossed her chicken bones into the trash. Seconds later, she watched in horror as several children fought to reclaim her discarded food.

Phymean Noun is helping give Cambodian children a chance at a better life. Noun stopped to talk with them. After hearing their stories of hardship, she knew she couldn’t ignore their plight.

“I must do something to help these children get an education,” she recalls thinking. “Even though they don’t have money and live on the sidewalk, they deserve to go to school.”

Six years after that incident, Noun is helping many of Phnom Penh’s poorest children do just that.

Within weeks, she quit her job and started an organization to give underprivileged children an education. Noun spent $30,000 of her own money to get her first school off the ground. In 2004, her organization — the People Improvement Organization (PIO) — opened a school at Phnom Penh’s largest municipal trash dump, where children are a large source of labor.

Information gathered from CNN.com, CNN Heroes Special Report.

To read more please go to cnn.com and vote for Phymean Noun for Hero of the Year.

Children displaced in North Kivu, DRC

Up to 100,000 people, around 60 per cent of which are children, have fled their homes due to heavy fighting between armed groups in North Kivu last week. Around 250,000 people are believed to have been displaced in the last two months, bringing the total number of internally displaced to around one million or 20 per cent of the entire North Kivu population.

The condition of newly displaced children and women is desperate. Thousands have had very little to eat since fleeing. Their access to clean water and health care has been minimal.  Hundreds of children are presumed to have been separated from their families, forced to fend for their survival on their own. The school year that had just started has been disrupted for tens of thousands of children – the second year in a row.

The consequences could be fatal for scores of children, both those displaced and those hosting the displaced. Cholera and measles epidemics are at serious risk of breaking out. Both diseases are easily communicable and flourish when large populations are on the move….

Information gathered from wow.gm.

To read more please visit wow.gm.

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